The primary purpose of pursuing a college education is to open doors for a future career. There are other incredible things in college that can help a person develop as a human being, but at the end of the day, they’re here to get a job.
Fortunately, the University of Idaho wants its students to find a job, too. That’s why there’s a department called Career Services, which exists for the express purpose of getting Vandals hired. This department will hold their biggest event of the semester Wednesday — the Career Fair. It’s a four-hour event where over 200 employers arrive at the Kibbie Dome to meet prospective hires. The networking experience at events like this is invaluable. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” has considerable truth in it.
Some students don’t feel like the Career Fair will do them any good. Typically this is because the companies coming to the fair are in a STEM field, which means that students in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) often can’t find any companies looking for them.
That’s a common misconception. There are plenty of available opportunities for CLASS students at the Career Fair. STEM-focused companies have human resource departments and strategic communications. They need technical writers and graphic designers. The college-to-career pipeline is less clear for CLASS majors than STEM majors, but the jobs that exist are much more varied.
Students can research the employers coming to the Palouse on the university website or through the Handshake platform. If an employer doesn’t list any specific majors they’re looking for, it means they want all majors. CLASS students can identify their personal skills and a role in an organization before asking a recruiter to be put in contact with the company’s applicable department.
If the pond still seems too small, Vandals should hop the border and attend Washington State University’s Career Expo Tuesday at Beasley Coliseum. With over twice the student population of UI, WSU’s event will have a much larger pool of employers and organizations for spring graduates to consider.
Just because an employer didn’t say they were looking for a specific major doesn’t mean they won’t hire someone with that major. Companies and organizations often come to career fairs with a focus in mind, but are open to qualified, enthusiastic talent in other departments. A little research and a good conversation with a recruiter can go a long way.