It's that time of year again: Fall Career Days time. As the FCD committee member from Liberal Arts, I know that I'll be out of my office frequently over the next few days, working at the BJC in my pumpkin orange Career Days polo shirt. I have met with a few Liberal Arts students over the past week to discuss their fair strategy, and look forward to seeing many more of you milling around the booths and talking to recruiters.
As mentioned in our recent announcement, the Fall Career Days website
gives plenty of excellent tips for a successful career fair. Many of you know them by heart: prepare a 30-second professional introduction, make copies of your resume, dress conservatively, and perhaps most importantly, research employers in advance. For Liberal Arts students, I like one particular piece of advice: The fair is only as big as your top five organizations.
If you start thinking of the fair as consisting of the five employers you plan to approach, as opposed to over 400, the experience becomes much more manageable--and enjoyable!
A quick review of the employers today confirmed my belief that the fair does offer opportunities for many of our students. While only you can make decision as to whether or not the fair is worth your time, I'll list a few here to give you a sense of the breadth and depth of organizations attending.
Did you know that Teach for America is one of the biggest employers of Penn State Liberal Arts graduates? They will be at Tuesday's fair, as will the Peace Corps, another popular short-term post-grad employment opportunity. Additionally, Philadelphia Teaching Fellows representatives will attend to recruit students in all majors except
education to become teachers in critical need subject areas in Philadelphia's high-need public schools.
Representatives from the Harrisburg Semester, a Penn State program that combines a public policy internship with an academic seminar in our state capital, will attend to discuss the program details and the various internships available through it. A few federal government agency recruiters will also attend to discuss opportunities at the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Social Security Agency.
Students interested in behavioral psychology may want to check out the KidsPeace or the Meadows Psychiatric Center booths, whereas crime, law and justice majors looking for a career in law enforcement may want to plan on speaking with representatives from the Bethlehem Police Department, Lewisburg Penitentiary, or the Supreme Court Police.
Many major retailers attend the fair to recruit for their store management and sales programs. You'll recognize the names: Target, Macy's, Kohl's, Giant Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Wegmans, and Wawa, to name just a few. These types of programs tend to seek out well-rounded students in a variety of disciplines--often, no particular major is required--with stellar communication skills.
Insurance company Liberty Mutual, meanwhile, is seeking out Liberal Arts students with strong analytical skills for their claims, underwriting and sales positions. (They are also giving a special workshop to CLA students on Wednesday evening -- 6 p.m in 365 Willard.) Students with an industrial/organizational psychology or labor studies background will find human resources opportunities available at a variety of companies, if they spend some time looking. And economics students will want to consider talking with Bates White, a consulting firm offering services in economics, finance, and business strategy.
This list, of course, is not comprehensive. Even if it were, and if you had time to speak with fifty organizations, you might not walk out of the BJC with the perfect job in your pocket. However, remember that the fair presents an excellent large-scale networking and professional development opportunity not available to your peers at smaller institutions. If you do plan to attend, be confident and make the most of the experience. See you at the fair!