|Students standing in line to get into the DECaF career fair.|
By Marissa R. Adams, student writer
San Diego, Calif., March 4, 2015 -- There might not be such a thing as a standing-room only job fair, but the Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair that took place on campus Feb. 20 came close. More than 2,000 students crowded the Price Center ballrooms and patiently waited in lines that were several people deep to talk to recruiters from more than 90 companies, including Apple, Facebook, Yahoo! and Google.
|Students stood in lines several people deep to talk to recruiters at prestigious companies.
Photo: Tony Wong/TESC
The fair, also known as DECaF, was organized by TESC, the Triton Engineering Student Council, an organization run by engineering students that works to provide academic and professional guidance as well as community building opportunities to Jacobs School students.
“DECaF is a rare opportunity for recruiters to put a face to the name on a resume, and for students to demonstrate that they're more than a series of bullet points on a paper. With resume critique workshops, elevator pitch sessions, and networking events, the Triton Engineering Student Council does everything in its power to cultivate and hone the networking skills that will be needed for recruiters to see that they are dealing with some of the sharpest engineering minds in the world,” said Bijan Shiravi, the External Career Fair Lead for TESC.
The line to get into the event’s west ballroom spilled over outside, down the small steps on the south side of the building and along the exterior wall several yards. The east ballroom line stretched down a narrow hallway packed with hopeful students.
Polished resumes in hand, students in line had a common goal: finding a company that was interested in their particular skill set. Most students chose to dress in their best business attire, but a few kept it casual and relied on their abilities and experience rather than appearance. Some recruiters felt that attire was just one more way to prove to employers that an applicant is serious, but one said that a nice suit wasn’t always the key to a job.
“You can clean up really nicely and still not know your stuff. I’d rather chat with a qualified student in jeans than somebody who dressed up, but doesn’t have experience,” he said.
|Students made pitches to be hired for internships or for a full time position.|
To be successful at an event as large as DECaF, many students had worked out detailed plans about how to navigate the fair. Some narrowed their choices down to just a few key companies, while others planned to avoid the most popular names that people flock to. Kevin Chang, a chemical engineering major, said his strategy was to remain flexible.
“Obviously everyone wants a chance with the bigger companies like Amazon and Facebook. But there are so many companies here today, and they all want something different. I’m trying to keep an open mind and not focus too much on a single place because not every company is going to be a good fit,” he said.
Although many Tritons were seriously looking for employment, for those who aren’t close to graduation, this was simply a test run. Jessica Lam is a bioengineering major who attended with the sole intention of networking.
“I’m not graduating for another year, so I’m not really trying to find a full time job. But I want to shake hands with as many people as I can,” she said. “You just never know, when you’ll meet someone who can give you a big opportunity later.”
|Students taking a break in the lounge in front of the Price Center West ballroom.
Photo: Tony Wong/TESC