Junior Katie Tassinari came to the 2013 Spring Career Fair with a game plan. A mathematical business major, Tassinari scouted the list of companies and planned to visit tables set up for financial services or consulting companies. Her focus paid off, but this self-described number cruncher found her options multiplied.
“I talked with the Peace Corps representative, and he had some interesting things to say. Now I think I might apply there,” Tassinari said. “I could spend two years abroad teaching or helping others, then come back to focus on my math and banking career.”
Tassinari didn’t stop at the Abercrombie and Fitch booth, but many other students did. “We are looking for juniors and seniors for internship and full-time opportunities at our corporate headquarters,” representative Paige Chang said. “We like students of all majors because our company offers the opportunity to be both analytical and creative at work.”
It’s Abercrombie and Fitch’s third year at the fair. This year more than 55 employers came to Benson University Center to meet with students from all years and majors, offering information about internships and full-time opportunities after graduation. “We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in companies attending the spring career fair over last year at this time,” said Mercy Eyadiel, executive director of employer relations in the Office of Career and Personal Development. “We attribute that both to the brighter economic outlook and the relationships our staff is building with more employers.”
So what are employers who attended the spring career fair looking for? While certain industries have some particular requirements, there are some Wake Forest-specific attributes several employers mentioned.
“We’re looking for go-getters who aren’t afraid of hard work. Wake students are a perfect fit because they know how to work hard and play hard,” said Ashley Cozyn (’09), an HR project manager at DISH Network, a television entertainment company. She and Teddy Elam (’12), now an operations analyst with the same company, both found their positions through the spring career fair. “We are looking for students who take charge, and are involved with different organizations, especially those who stuck with something and took on leadership roles,” Cozyn said.
“The liberal arts focus on critical analytical skills, creative problem solving, written and verbal communications and ability to defend a point of view are key,” Eyadiel said. “Wake Forest’s academic rigor and our students’ ability to balance academics and extracurricular activities make them attractive candidates.”
Employer Outreach Manager Lori Sykes says while some employers are familiar with Wake Forest, some new companies attended this year’s event. Among them are United Technologies Corporation, a Fortune 500 company focused on commercial and military aviation, aerospace systems and other industries, and Allscripts, which came to campus looking for students interested in healthcare careers.
“We have a variety of industries because our students want to use their liberal arts education for a variety of careers, everything from consulting to nonprofits,” said Sykes. “Many representatives maximize their time on campus by hosting coffee chats with students at Campus Grounds, holding some small group sessions or offering one on one interviews.”
Madeline Skahill, a senior communication major, has several internships under her belt at public relations firms. Now she’s looking for the next step in her career. “I came to the career fair to see what these companies have to offer, and I found a good variety of opportunities.”
Red Ventures, a data-driven marketing and tech firm based in Charlotte, attends career fairs only at Wake Forest. “Wake Forest is a very competitive environment,” Chrissy Moreyra (’10) of Red Ventures said. “Students are goal-oriented, know how to work in a fast-paced environment that brings out their best and are willing to collaborate and help each other. That’s what we’re looking for.”
While the career fair has ended for this semester, the Office of Personal and Career Development creates many additional opportunities for students to network with employers. The OPCD website and DeaconSource are two places to look for these additional opportunities.