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Career Fair: Business as usual

By Abigail Kelly, Senior Staff Writer

Putting the final touches on resumes, practicing elevator speeches and deciding which of the 295 companies to pursue - students all across campus are preparing for Career Fair Wednesday, Sept. 16.

However, some students, specifically non-business or engineering majors, click through the Career Services' school-wide emails, not giving a second thought to Wednesday's event.

"I don't feel like [Career Services] filter their emails, so they send business school emails to everyone," said Mollie Hogan, a junior psychology major.

Hogan has no intentions of attending Career Fair this week, while Abbey Wolfe, a senior supply chain major, is exhaustively preparing for her third appearance.

"There are millions of options, and there are so many questions that you have to ask yourself, " said Wolfe.

When it comes to Career Fair, students notice a divide between business majors and everyone else. Director of Career Services, Mike Goldman, said he understands why non-business students feel this way - it's true that few liberal arts companies are represented at Career Fair.

"For a long time, the Career Fair was positioned as a fair for business and engineering students," said Goldman. "We are trying to change that as rapidly as we can."

Last year at Career Fair, Wolfe's hard work paid off when she received an internship offer from Smuckers.

"I was thrilled," Wolfe said. "It was worth the stress and planning and the exhaustion that Career Fair brings."

However, despite the advertising by Miami, other students, like Hogan, don't even make it to the doors of Millett Hall for Career Fair, let alone receive offers. Although one-third of the companies are recruiting across all majors, a lot of them are still heavily directed toward business students.

"If I haven't taken one business class or economics or political science class, I feel like I wouldn't get a job, just being a psychology major," said Hogan.

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Goldman explained that Miami tries bringing employers for all majors to Career Fair, but it also depends on the industry itself.

"It is not personal," said Goldman. "PR firms and advertising firms tend to recruit later in the year and very few attend fairs, whereas banks and industrial companies tend to come to fairs and recruit early in the school year. It all depends on an industry's recruiting practices."

Across industries, there may be varied recruiting methods and timelines, but liberal arts students still lack the opportunities that Career Fair creates for business students.

However, Goldman encourages students of all majors not to limit themselves to Career Fair, because there are many more ways to find a job or internship.

"Students need to understand that finding an internship and a job today is like a five-legged stool," Goldman said.

He said these five legs are Career Fair, CareerLink, other major-specific job search engines on the Career Services website, LinkedIn and networking with family friends, alumni and professors. Many students can use these alternative pathways in place of or in addition to Career Fair, Goldman said.

In the past, instead of going to Career Fair or using Career Services, Hogan used personal connections. During summer 2014, she had an internship with the American Diabetes Association that she learned about through her former family nanny.

Because of the opportunities she has found for herself, and the education she has received, Hogan is starting her search for what she is going to do next summer. She hopes to work at a sober living facility in New York City.

For students like Hogan, the lack of relevant options at Career Fair means seeking jobs and internships through alternative means.