By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer
As graduation and summer approaches, students learned how to effectively network and pitch themselves for a job at the inaugural Liberal Arts Career Summit at the Mayborn Museum this past week.
The career summit featured guest speakers from companies such as Google and Chick-fil-A, booths from numerous employers and breakout sessions to help liberal arts students make connections and learn how to market themselves when searching for jobs or internships.
Shelby Cefaratti, a marketing and graphic design specialist for the career center, said the career summit aimed to offer a different experience from the typical career fair.
“Typically [at a] career fair you go with your resume up to different employers and you do kind of a mini-interview; you find out who you want to work with,” Cefaratti said. “This is going to be some of that but it’s also learning how to network. Networking is so important. When [students] are graduating networking is a challenge. It’s new. It’s different.”
Houston junior John Wunsch is an MIS major, attended the career summit .Wunsch said the networking experience that comes with events like the career summit is important because it’s not taught in the classroom.
“When you’re doing English or journalism or political science getting a job isn’t [something you’re taught],” Wunsch said. “Like one of the panelists said before, there isn’t like a psychology company. You kind of have to gravitate towards a position that you find inherent skills in regardless of your major. It’s very helpful for people that are in majors… [where] it’s not as easy to find the road.”
Wunsch also shared some advice delivered by Kyle Ali, the staffing channels associate team lead at Google, during the alumni panel.
“There was a guy from Google who was talking a lot about how to network in the sense of starting a conversation with a genuine interest in getting to know someone before you use your strategy of trying to get the position,” Wunsch said.
According to Cefaratti, networking skills are especially important for students with liberal arts degrees because of the broad range of jobs and fields graduates can go into.
This broad range was reflected in the list of guest speakers, most of whom are alumni. Desiree Foley, an employer relations specialist with the career center, said guest speakers were chosen specifically to account for the versatile nature of liberal arts programs.
“We intentionally chose employers and alumni and panelists who have a humanities or a liberal arts backgrounds but were in different roles,” Foley said. “We wanted each speaker to kind of represent a different population whether they have a political science background, or communication background or any other area.”
Blair Brooks is the director of marketing for Chick-fil-A Baylor and graduated from Baylor in 2010 with a degree in speech communication, (now called corporate communication). She led the breakout session on building relationships in the workplace and making the most of an internship. Brooks said events like the Career Summit are a great way to show liberal arts students that their degrees can take them in different directions than they may have first thought.