The spring Career Fair, presented by University of Idaho Career Services, offered a unique opportunity for students Wednesday to network and meet potential employers in the Kibbie Dome.
This year’s spring fair was the largest yet, with a total of 135 employers actively seeking UI students to serve as interns or full-time employees. Prior to the event, Assistant Director for Internships and Employer Relations John Mangiantini spoke about the importance of the Career Fair and the preparation that went into it.
Mangiantini worked with Washington State University before taking his position at UI four years ago.
“My job description, basically, is to engage with employers in north Idaho, Washington and western Oregon to get them to come and recruit UI students, whether it is virtually or physically with the fairs and on-campus interviews etc.,” Mangiantini said.
Mangiantini stressed the importance of the Career Fair and why students should attend.
“All of our employers tell us they want to meet freshmen. They’re not necessarily hiring them, but they want to meet them and start to build a relationship with them because the next summer — the summer between their sophomore and junior year — they’re employable,” he said.
id He said employers come to Moscow to meet and engage with students of all ages.
“The freshmen should be there for the networking purposes for the future and to learn more about possible careers they may have never thought of, and sophomores and juniors should be there thinking about internships. Seniors and grad students are there to find jobs,” he said.
Mangiantini said it is a necessity to come to thes kinds of events prepared. It is important for students to research the companies they are interested in prior to meeting them at the fair, he said.
“(Students) need to do their research, go to the company’s website, look at their mission statement and see if their values line up with yours. When you’ve read about the company, it is pretty easy to see how you might fit,” Mangiantini said. “There is nothing that impresses an employer more than if you read their mission statement or their vision statement.”
For students to prepare for interacting with potential employers, Mangiantini expressed the importance of utilizing the services offered at UI.
The Career Services Department, located in the Commons, offers free help to UI students looking for job and internship opportunities, resume workshopping or tips on interviewing. Sophomore Chadwick Mickelson, a finance major, said he was excited to see the opportunities at the fair.
“I came into this not really knowing what I want to do with my major or what career I could go into with this major. It was really helpful that the employers not only took time to explain the ins and outs of the job but made sure I thought it was a right fit,” Mickelson said. “They really tried to make sure that we knew what the job was and what it entailed, and they were honest if they didn’t think it would be a good fit with our skill set. I don’t think there is any way to get that sort of hands on flash interview experience anywhere else.”
The Career Fair used color-coded nametags which were passed out to students. Colors coordinated with a student’s area of study, helping employees identify promising candidates. Most employers also had a sign stating what they were looking for at the fair. Whether it be computer science majors or interns, the signs helped students navigate the fair to find the companies they thought would be a good fit.
Stacie Joiner, a representative of Raycap, an industrial surge protection and lightning protection company, said her company, as well as others, were primarily interested in engineering students .
“I think this is our first time doing a career fair, so we are out here mostly to get our name out,” said Joiner. “We’re looking for mostly electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, so we are looking to just talk to them and get some interest in our company.”
Emma Takatori can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org