Job Fair 101: Getting Humanities Majors (and Everyone) Hired
By: Mallory Glenn ’19
As someone not majoring in any of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) areas, career fairs can feel useless. Oh, they need some with accounting and financial experience? Great. They need someone with computer science and engineering skills? Perfect. Career fairs typically have plenty of opportunities for STEM majors, many companies looking for students on track to work in business, accounting, or engineering. While it’s great to have STEM-related opportunities for students, the lack of humanities-oriented opportunities can leave liberal arts majors feeling defeated.
Liberal arts majors are confronted with skepticism from the moment they declare a major. “What are you going to do with that?”, “How will you ever make any money?”, “Maybe you could just do that as a minor…”
Society at large is skeptical about the level of success that can be achieved with a liberal arts major. And this skepticism can leak into liberal arts majors’ heads so that they enter career fairs with extra trepidation. Then, as they look around at various tables and see company upon company looking for scientists, engineers, mathematicians, it can seem like maybe society was right.
However, there are plenty of jobs out there for liberal arts majors. Some of these jobs are just a bit more obscure.
“Sometimes you have to get creative when hunting for a job,” said Abbey Schlanz ’18, a senior English and writing double major. “Positions like ‘software tester’ might seem like they have nothing to do with being a humanities major. Yet, after graduation, that’s exactly what I’ll be, despite having almost zero experience with coding. Epic, the company that hired me, actually prefers English and writing majors because we have skills that are difficult to teach like communication, critical thinking and analysis.”
Abbey discovered Epic at last year’s OFIC CareerFest. She thought that the name of the company sounded cool, so she decided to look them up.
“My biggest piece of advice to other non-STEM majors is to research companies before attending a job fair. Find out what kinds of people they hire because you might be surprised. A software company may prefer writers, and a greeting card company may prefer computer science experts. Once you know which companies might be interested in you, tailor your elevator pitch to highlight skills needed for their positions. Most of all, be confident! No matter what your major is, your skills and experiences are important, and the more you believe that, the more someone else will recognize it, too.”
Students can make appointments at the Center for Student Success located in HPCC to gauge and improve their career and internship readiness. Students can practice their interview skills and receive feedback on their resumes from members of the Center for Student Success team.
“Research the employers ahead of time,” said Sara Fugett, the Director of Career Development. “Recruiters are much more responsive to students who have “selected” their organization and have made the effort to find out about them. Also practice introducing yourself out loud before going to the fair. You do not have to say a lot of spectacular things, just say them well. Keep it short and sweet. Then, once you get to the fair, practice on a few employers that you’re not really interested in. This way you will be ready to approach your top employers with more confidence.”
“Recruiters are much more responsive to students who have “selected” their organization and have made the effort to find out about them” – Sara Fugett, Director of Career Development
For those interested in learning some of these tips first-hand, on Tuesday, February 20th there is a “How to Work a Job Fair” presentation from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the HPCC West Room. Additionally, The Greater Canton Collegiate Job Fair is on Friday, February 23rd at Walsh University’s Barrette Center and is open to all students. Students can learn more about this event and register online by visiting https://www.collegecentral.com/greatercantonfair/