Story by McKenna Middleton | Opinion Editor, Video by Melanie Pace | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor’s Office of Career & Professional Development’s career fairs this semester have aimed to address the diversity and accessibility needs of students, said Desiree Foley, CPD employer relations specialist.
Foley said career fairs in the past have been marketed to all majors, but student surveys expressed a desire for a shift to major-specific career fairs.
“There’s a desire for more tailored programming, especially for students both in the humanities and the sciences,” Foley said. “We understand that those students have unique and diverse career interests and needs and we want to reflect that in our programing.”
On Wednesday afternoon, CPD hosted a Science and Health Career Fair in the Baylor Sciences Building. The Woodlands freshman Anne MacDougal, a biochemistry major, said she was interested to see what kinds of organizations were present at the event.
“I just wanted to get a look at all the different options there are if you don’t want to go to med school,” MacDougal said.
Foley said while most career fairs have taken place on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center, this event took place at the BSB to increase accessibility for students interested in science and health careers.
“It’s near all the science classes so you can come here before or after class,” said Bossier City, La., freshman Emily Ann Dart.
The Science and Health Career Fair also did not require business casual or business professional attire for attendees.
“We really want to reduce barriers for students,” Foley said. “So by relaxing the dress code a little bit, we hope students will find the employers more approachable and be more willing to come to the event and actually talk to employers.”
In addition to making the programs more student-friendly, Foley said these niche career fairs benefit potential employers as well.
“The organizations that are recruiting for a specific skill set, they really enjoy knowing they’re going to see the students they’re targeting at the event,” Foley said.
Foley said CPD will continue to offer these niche career fairs next semester, including Federal Day and Teacher Day. Students can keep an eye out on Handshake to stay in-the-know with career fair details.
When considering attending a career fair, Foley said she suggests students research ahead of time by checking Handshake to see which employers will be attending the event. Dart said she learned about the Science and Health Career Fair through an email and looked on Handshake to see which organizations would be attending to decide which representatives she really wanted to talk to.
Students should come up with a few questions to ask representatives from organizations that interest them as well as an elevator pitch and maybe some copies of their resume, Foley said. She added that it’s never too early in a student’s college career to attend a job fair.
“Although it’s never too early to attend a career fair – some organizations there will have internships – it’s most relevant for juniors and seniors who are exploring post-graduate opportunities,” Foley said. “For freshmen and sophomores, we recommend they do research ahead of time and attend to become familiar with the career fair format and introducing themselves to employers. That way they won’t be intimidated when they attend similar events as a junior or senior.”