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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's to host career fair offering post-graduate opportunities

Saint Mary’s will host its annual Career and Internship Fair on Monday, providing students from the tri-campus community the opportunity to explore internship, job and post-graduate service options. Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teaching Fellows, 1st Source Bank, Caterpillar Inc., South Bend Schools, the Peace Corps and other employers will be present.

Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office at the College, said all students are invited to attend the fair, but sophomores, juniors and seniors are especially encouraged to attend.

“The main purpose of the Saint Mary’s Career and Internship Fair is to connect students to opportunities with employers, organizations and some graduate opportunities,” Jeffirs said in an email.

There will be 47 organizations represented at the fair, Jeffirs said, with employers from various spheres of industry, including finance, information technology, healthcare, education, nonprofits, communications and other areas.

“[The fair] will be set up in a traditional fair format with organization booths/tables and students will be able to visit with the organizations they are interested in,” Jeffirs said.

Approximately 30% of the 47 organizations attending the fair currently employ alumnae or will have a Saint Mary’s alumna present, Jeffirs said.

“The presence of alumnae at the Saint Mary’s Career and Internship Fair speaks to the sisterhood of our extensive community,” Jeffirs said. “Employers who recruit at Saint Mary’s tell us time and time again that they return to the College because of our alumnae and they want to recruit more Saint Mary’s women to join their team. Because of their strong connection to the community even beyond graduation, alumnae love helping students gain access to opportunities by not only recruiting at Saint Mary’s but also mentoring students. Alumnae are our best recruiting advocates and most valuable resources for the College.”

To prepare for the fair, Jeffirs said students should polish their resume and print physical copies to distribute to organizations. Students should also practice what they will say upon approaching potential employers at the fair, and plan on following up with them afterwards, Jeffirs said.

Students should also prepare an “elevator pitch,” a short introduction of their strengths and the value they can contribute to an organization.

“When attending career fairs, you want to consider your ‘pitch’ to be more of a conversation with employers,” Jeffirs said. “You approach an employer, provide a firm handshake and greet them. Briefly introduce yourself with your name, major, class year and institution. Then, before ‘pitching’ yourself, tell them why you came to the fair to visit with them.”

The Future Business Leaders of Saint Mary’s, a new club created to empower students with the skills needed for success outside the classroom, partnered with the Career Crossings Office to host a career fair and resume review last Tuesday.

Junior and social outreach chair, Claire Kavanaugh, said the club was created to provide insight into internships, careers and other post-graduate pursuits, tailored by students, for students.

“I feel like there’s a lot of things that us as students can offer that Career Crossing can’t because they’re not current students, whereas we have the experience … from a student point of view,” Kavanaugh said. “We’re doing lots of networking things and getting Saint Mary’s alumnae to come and do talks on campus.”

As a Future Business Leaders board member, Kavanaugh said students should remember that the career fair is a valuable resource.

“You’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you,” she said. “So make sure you’re not just diving into something, make sure you’re asking the right questions like, ‘What’s the work atmosphere like? What’s the day-to-day look like? How can you move up in the company?’”

Kavanaugh said students from all grade levels can benefit from attending the Career Fair.

“The earlier you start, the better, because then the more prepared you are for when it’s actually time to settle down … when you actually have to get a job,” she said. “It’s always good to be ahead.”