Although the annual All Majors Career Fair can be a useful tool in connecting students with potential employers, an imbalance of representation causes many students to lose interest before the fair ever begins.
A list of employers participating in this semesters’ Career Fair printed in The Murray State News’ All Majors Career Fair Tabloid indicated that of the 145 majors and areas of study offered at Murray State, 95 majors were not listed as being sought after directly by employers participating in the event, except for those seeking applicants from all educational backgrounds, such as Wal-Mart and the Marine Corps.
The spring All Majors Career Fair was scheduled for Wed. March 4. It was canceled because of inclement weather. The fair will be rescheduled for a later date.
The most commonly sought after graduates at this semester’s fair will be those with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health, constituting about 15 percent of all employment opportunities that will be represented.
Samantha George, senior studio art major from Murray, was among the students who won’t be attending the fair.
During her college career, George participated in two internships, acquired two years of job experience, as well as gathered several letters of recommendation: practically everything that she needs to begin her career. George said all these things were required with the help of the art department, as well as at the cause of her hard work and dedication.
She said she learned not to rely on any help from University-sponsored events, such as the career fair.
“A lot of times it feels as though our department is a complete separate island from the rest of campus,” George said.
The career fair is available to anyone, regardless of area of study, said Ray Karraker, employer relations coordinator and organizer of the Career Fair. Students must often look outside areas that they had originally thought of when getting their first job after graduation.
Karraker said the key to acquiring any job is to first investigate what the company does, and then to sell your particular set of skills to the employers.
The idea of thinking outside the box when obtaining a first job after graduation is a growing trend nationwide. According to a 2010 study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27 percent of college grads had jobs in a field related to their majors.
Although the emphasis of employers seeking students as potential job candidates are in fields like Occupational Safety and Health, agriculture, engineering technology and engineering anyone can benefit from attending the fair.
Karraker said one of the most difficult obstacles a student will face when searching for a job is the interview. And the career fair will help students from any major develop interviewing skills.
“The career fair … gives you an opportunity to go in and talk with employers and find out what kind of questions they’re asking,” Karraker said.
Career Services offers other career fairs that are major specific outside of the All Majors Career Fair, including the Teacher Education Fair, scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon March 13, and the Government and Law Schools Fair. That fair, set for 9 a.m. to noon April 6 at the Curris Center, invites all majors, but caters specifically to students from 22 programs, including accounting, nonprofit leadership studies, psychology and agriculture.
Karraker said students need to investigate their area of study and determine if more education is required to be competitive on a professional level than just a bachelors degree. He said students often need to “broaden their base, not just educationally, but where you are looking.”
The Career Service center offers many tools to do just that.
Racer Tracks, found on MyGate, allows students to create a personal profile on a large job search database to connect with employers from all across the globe. Going Global is a similar service located under the same banner that has an extensive list of job and internship opportunities for students of all areas of study.
Liz Kunkel, senior dietetics major from Carlyle, Ill., said that she had no plans to attend this semester’s career fair when it’s rescheduled.
Kunkel said that although Career Services has been helpful in preparing her resume and cover letters while getting ready for an interview, the fair itself doesn’t offer much guidance to her. Instead, she turns to the faculty within the Dietetics department itself for help when it comes to taking the next step in her professional career.
“They’ve been in our shoes, so they can offer the most advice,” Kunkel said.
Story by Zachary Orr, Contributing writer