Engineering Career Fair introduces students to the professional world


By Jack McClellan

Hilton Coliseum was filled with booths of potential employers and students searching for internships and career opportunities Tuesday afternoon.

Jack Mcclellan

College of Engineering Career Services hosted the Spring Engineering Career Fair yesterday. Students spent the afternoon perusing the various booths and potential employers spread throughout Hilton Coliseum and the Scheman Building.

In Hilton Coliseum, most booths were laid out across the stadium floor, with some also up in the halls near the entrance. Just a short walk across the elevated walkway brought students to the Scheman building, which also housed plenty of booths for students to interact with.

One student, Ben Schultz, a junior majoring in materials engineering, shared his takeaways on the career fair.

“One thing I’ve learned is it’s not about what you know, it’s more about who you know,” Schultz said. “So even if you get out here and you just get your name in the door and then come back in a year, they’ll recognize who you are. Just getting your foot in the door will always help you out.”

Shultz’s point demonstrates the value of career fairs; regardless of students securing interviews or high-level internships, they are practicing their networking skills and their ability to function in a socially professional environment. Another student, Lucas Rowe, a senior in mechanical engineering, shared an experience that shows the value of networking.

“There was one [employer] that was not even hiring mechanical engineers, but I just talked while I was waiting in line for another one at the fall career fair,” Rowe said. “Even if it’s not for a job, those are important just to get to know people, and everyone has connections.”

Regardless of the potential for an internship or co-op, Rowe made conversation with the employer in a previous career fair. As another fair came around, Rowe had a leg up on the competition because of the small networking interaction.

“So even if it’s not a direct connection, you know, they can help you. That guy I talked to who wasn’t hiring a mechanical [engineer], he referred me to another company that was offering co-ops,” Rowe said. “I wasn’t looking for that but it would have been a good connection to have.”

Many students struggle with the stress of career fairs, expecting to either find success or rejection at the fair. Bailee Endries, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering, explained how her recent Career Fair experiences have differed from the past.

“I’m like, ‘I need to be the best I possibly can be or I’m not going to get an internship, and then I’m not going to get an engineering job and I’m never going to get an engineering job.’” said Endries. “That’s not how it is. This semester and last semester, it felt like a game. Like ‘oh, how many people can I talk to and get my resume to’ and not like, ‘I need to get a job, or I’m a bad student.’”

For students interested in strengthening their networking skills, the month of February is packed with career fairs and similar events. For more information on career fairs, visit Iowa State’s Career Services website.