Eighty company representatives talk to interested students at biannual career fair

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The main floor of the Hughes Trigg Student Center was bustling with SMU students and recent graduates dressed in fancy, professional clothing and holding briefcases full of resumes while signing in at the SMU career and internship fair. The students slapped on their name tags and marched down the stairs to the lower level of the student center where more than 80 employers had booths set up with brochures and representatives ready to talk and network.

The Hegi Family Career Development Center hosted the SMU’s biannual fair from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18. The Hegi Career Center serves all majors and divisions at SMU, but this fair was comprised of companies that catered to students in the Dedman College of Arts and Sciences and the Meadows School of the Arts. Companies represented included AT&T, Epsilon, McKesson Corporation, Peace Corps, and Teach for America.

The Hegi Career Center and SMU work hard to bring in representatives from well-known companies in Dallas and around the nation in order to give their students a solid launching pad into the “real world” job market. Students are encouraged to meet with career center staff to edit resumes and perfect individualized 30-second elevator pitches.

Junior Emily Robinson, a markets and culture major and a statistics and advertising minor, has been attending the career fairs every year since she has been in college and has really appreciated all the help she received at the career center.

“I had my elevator pitch and resume ready to go after working with the career development ambassadors,” said Robinson. “The mock interviews were really helpful to do too.”

Career Fair Sign Up Desk
Students sign in for the Career Fair. Photo credit: Evie Dole

Students were encouraged to attend the event with a focused and professional mindset, as this is a great opportunity to make connections and nail down internships and jobs, said Alicia Love, assistant director of employer relations.

“Even as a freshman it is important to come to these events to gain exposure and to understand what opportunities are out there,” Love said. “The earlier the students come to these events, gaining exposure and potential contacts, the better.”

Chelsi McLain, associate director of career development, had many tips ready to give students about how to prepare and appear for the big day, but she really stressed researching companies before attending the fair.

“Researching companies you are interested in is probably the most important thing to do,” McLain said. “It shows the recruiter that you are serious about getting to know their company.”

This year, the career fair aimed to bring in companies that are looking for students that come from multiple departments.

“There was a wide range of companies here today,” Robinson said. “It would be hard not to find a company you’re interested in pursuing for an internship or job.”

Alana Hopper, a recruiter from Rockgate Financial, a financial advising firm who had their booth set up in the middle of the main ballroom, explained that they were interested in talking to students who would fit as a youth advisors at the firm.

“We are looking for entrepreneurial-minded students that want to make a difference,” Hopper said.

The Hegi Career Center aims to promote awareness and for students to gain connections. Love also said that the center is invested in helping their students find their “first destination jobs.”

Students looking for jobs or internships right out of college should not put as much pressure on themselves and understand that these first jobs are not necessarily connected to fields or professions that they will have to stay in for the rest of their lives.

“These students are trying to find their first job, it may not be what they do forever,” Love said. “We are here to help them figure out what job environment fits them best.”

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