Federal Day to offer breakout sessions and time with agency representatives

Federal Day, a career fair for hose interested in jobs with the federal government, will take place on March 27 in the Barfield Drawing room with separate sessions for specific agencies. Branson Hardcastle | Multimedia Journalist

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Federal Day, a specialized career fair for students interested in pursuing jobs in the federal government, will feature a variety of tables with representatives and breakout sessions for information about the industry.

The event will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the Barfield Drawing Room, and is put on by the Department of Career and Professional Development. Desiree Foley, an employer relations specialist for the department, is the project lead for the event and is involved in aspects like employer outreach and contacting agencies. She described Federal Day as a chance for students of all majors and classifications to learn more about careers within the federal government.

“It’s a traditional career fair format event but for a very specialized industry,” Foley said. “It’s just for federal agencies and students interested in internships and full-time opportunities with the federal government. There will be 16 tables there and over a dozen agencies will be represented, including some military branches, as well as the CIA, FBI and the Department of State.”

Foley recommends that students register for the event on Handshake ahead of time, but all who attend the event are welcome. Business casual attire is also recommended, along with preparing an elevator pitch and bringing a resume as well. Foley said it would be helpful to research some of the agencies before attending the event, which can be done through Handshake, and looking for available positions on usajobs.gov.

“To prepare for the event, I definitely recommend getting on Handshake and researching the agencies you’re interested in, along with looking up on their career websites the different opportunities available,” Foley said. “Most positions open right now will be entry level and the agencies usually hire across a broad range of majors for a wide variety of roles. Some job title examples are specialists or analysts within areas like intelligence, law enforcement, IRS and U.S. Census Bureau or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Along with representatives from different agencies to speak with, breakout sessions will be given by the CIA, FBI and Department of State for additional information. A full schedule of events is available on Handshake. Foley encourages all students interested to attend the event, no matter what major or grade level.

“We would really like a variety of majors represented, as these agencies are looking for backgrounds in humanities, foreign language and communications, but also in STEM areas, and health, business or computer science students. Just about every major could fit into one of these agencies depending on what they’re interested in. Many don’t recruit by major but by skill set,” Foley said. “Even if you’re not sure if you want to pursue a career in a federal agency, you should still come. This is for students who know they want to go down this path but also for students who are exploring. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, we want a full range of students.”

Foley said she hopes that career fairs with more specialized industries are beneficial for students attending the events, as well as the representatives who can get to know students interested in a specific career.

“We really enjoy doing these types of industry-specific fairs, as we know that the students will be exposed to and see opportunities that they will be interested in and that employers can speak with students intentionally pursuing that industry,” Foley said. “Federal Day is so tailored and specific and the agencies love that the event is just for them.”

Last week, Career and Professional Development hosted another career-specific fair centered around teachers, which Cibolo senior Skye Thomas appreciated for being less intimidating and easier to navigate than a career fair spanning a broad range of occupations.

“Job fairs that represent many different career fields can feel overwhelming since there are students with many different majors and companies representing many different career fields,” Thomas said. “I think having a career-specific job fair is a lot less intimidating and nerve-wracking. Knowing that the fair I attended was specifically for educators, and that all of the districts had openings for a job, allowed us to feel more at home and encouraged about finding the perfect fit for us. We all knew we were there for the same reason and we could talk to our peers attending about what districts they liked and just compare experiences.”

Foley said that there are other events coming up in April, including the Science and Health Employer meetup in the BSB on April 11 targeting seniors looking for employment within those fields, as well as the Liberal Arts Career Summit on April 16 including an alumni panel, keynote speaker, three breakout sessions and an employer networking hour.