For the past 20 years, the UTSA Career Center has held two of the most popular events on campus: the STEM Career Fair and the All Majors Internship and Career Fair. This semester, 66 employers have registered for the STEM fair, and 100 employers have registered for the All Majors fair.
On Feb. 8, UTSA’s Convocation Center will hold the STEM fair from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the All Majors fair from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students are asked to download the Career Fair Plus app to see the various employers registered and view the location of each employer’s booth inside the Convocation Center.
“Both career fairs are great opportunities for students to meet employer representatives, network, get ideas about internships and careers and apply for jobs,” said Program Manager of the University Career Center Morris Ellington said. “(Students) can expect a very busy, fast paced environment with the many employers present.”
The career fairs are designed to be the premier networking event for the university and require all students to come in professional dress.
This semester, the Career Center is putting an emphasis on its use of the Career Fair Plus app. The app comes with event info, a map of the fair, a list of employers attending the fair, contact information for the fair organizers and a “Career Fair 101” checklist of recommended preparation tips for students attending the event.
“The app can be found by doing a search at either Apple (App Store) or Google (App Store) for Career Fair Plus,” said Ellington. “It also provides detailed information on every employer, majors sought, positions available and much more.”
Preparation before the fair is necessary to make the most of the experience. Some students prepare weeks in advance to memorize their elevator pitches and rewrite their resumes several times.
“I had several people review and critique my résumé about a week before the fair,” said senior management science major Erica Perez. “The night before the career fair, I practiced my elevator speech and printed out copies of job descriptions which interested me the most.”
Senior cyber security major Devon Gorse said, “To prepare, I made sure I had an up-to-date résumé, as well as an idea of what my interests were. Researching the companies I was interested in was helpful as well, as it helped show some initiative and overall interest in their company and its values.”
The career fair is not exclusively for seniors; people of every education level and classification can benefit from attending. Ellington suggests young visitors attend to begin career planning and discover potential career paths. The result of attending is the opportunity to explore potential career paths or find employment through an internship or full-time job offer.
“An open mind and a willingness to learn and talk to professionals allowed me to make some networking connections and later got me a summer internship,” Gorse said. “I think a lot of students don’t realize that some recruiters just want a normal human interaction, much like us. Professionalism is important, but being able to express your skills in a relatable way has allowed me to be successful in getting an internship and later a job.”
Perez said the fair was, “A very beneficial experience. Recruiters were very kind and helpful. Ultimately, I was able to receive two interviews which resulted in full-time offers upon graduation.”
The Career Center recommends attending one or more of their career fair prep workshops, which run Jan. 31 through Feb. 2. The full workshop schedule can be found on careercenter.utsa.edu/handshake-login if students conduct an event search.
The career fair is an opportunity for students to make impressions, but Ellington reminds students to follow-up with company recruiters.
“Often times, recruiters will schedule interviews with people they meet at a career fair,” Ellington said. “If so, students need to show up for the interview! Most employers have a no-tolerance policy towards no-shows.”
The success of a student experience at the career fair relies on their ability to relax, show confidence and make a connection with people. Gorse suggests students, “Find a healthy mix of professionalism and relatability. You’ll find it easier to sell your skills and experience if you are true to your interests.”