The Toppel Career Center’s semiannual Career Fair attracted about 2000 UM students from almost all majors Friday in the Wellness Center.
“Obviously it’s more difficult for us to cater to specialized majors such as theater and music. Those industries just don’t recruit that way,” said Christian Garcia, assistant director for employer relations at Toppel. “Mostly we focus on sales, information technology, business, healthcare and education.
The Career Fair, open to UM students and alumni only, featured over 100 businesses from around the country interested in employing college students.
The Career Fair is held in the spring and fall semesters, but more employers are present at the fall Fair.
“The purpose is to expose students to a broad spectrum of career paths and provide opportunities to secure internships and full-time jobs,” Garcia said.
Students were required to dress professionally and come with a resume in hand.
“This is the time for students to get know people in their field. This is the initial conversation to start networking with recruiters,” Garcia said.
This year’s Career Fair differed somewhat from last year’s in that the companies present were more diverse.
Also, many more government agencies were recruiting than have in the past.
The Departments of Justice and of State as well as the FBI were represented.
“Government agencies need young people because of our country’s current situation,” Garcia said.
Pharmaceutical sales companies were also highly represented.
Other notable firms included the Broward Sheriff’s Office, JP Morgan Chase & Co., MetLife, MTV, The National Cancer Institute, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota and Wal-Mart.
Many employers were particularly looking to hire bilingual and Hispanic students.
“We are desperately in need of Hispanic employees to represent our company in the Dade County area,” said Ace DuBose of the Navy financial management team.
“The primary reason we have come to UM is because this is a very diverse campus,” said Lourdes Rey-Wilson, senior vice president and human resource director of Totalbank. “Our bank is representative of the cultural diversity of the Miami-Dade community.”
However, many companies were simply looking for people with a good attitude.
“We want people who are excited about working in healthcare,” said Al Parnell of the Center for Disease Control.
“We have a lot to offer the graduate who shows high performance capabilities and energy,” said a representative from TruGreen Chemical, a Fortune 500 company.
Most jobs available offered salaries from the low $20,000s to low $30,000s, although some offered commission pay in addition to base salaries.
“This is my second time at the Career Fair. I get to see what jobs will be available to me when I graduate,” said UM student Denise Cromwell.
“I think that the career expo allows companies to look at a lot of other facets of an individual besides experience,” Natasha Payson, Graduate Student said. “The companies know that you don’t have a lot of experience and that you’re here to get your degree.”
First-time Career Fair visitor Omar Solh, a business major, said, “It’s pretty interesting. So many opportunities for business.”
“We encourage all students to attend, no matter what year they graduate,” said Garcia. “Lots of people think they should wait until they are seniors to attend. The Career Fair is for everyone to make connections, whether they are seniors or not.”
The next Career Fair will be Feb. 20, 2003.