Every student will be forced to think about a career path at least once before graduation.
“We think it’s very critical students begin to explore what they are going to do at the end of four years when they graduate and what skills they want to use and what are the interests they have,” Drema Howard, director of USF Career Services, said.
Today, Howard along with organizers from Career Services and the USF Alumni Association will help students explore their career options at a career fair in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Howard said the most important first step students can take in preparing themselves for the job market is to expose themselves to new areas and learn new skills that can be refined, something she said is critical in an ever-changing market.
“The workplace has changed dramatically and is always evolving,” she said. “It can’t be assumed you can learn everything and then it is going to stop… There will be career fields that don’t exist today and careers today that will no longer be relevant in the future.”
Today’s career fair is designed specifically for students earning science, engineering and technology degrees. This event follows Wednesday’s career fair that was open to all majors and gathered more than 1,100 students and 91 employers in the state.
Some of the biggest career opportunities lie in STEM fields, with the most projected employment growth with biomedical engineers (62 percent), software developers (30 percent), architects (24 percent) and computer scientists (22 percent), Howard said.
Alain Daniel, a claims supervisor for Progressive Insurance, said jobs in fields like his will never go away as the amount of policies sold in Florida skyrockets annually. He, along with other recruiters, said they value a student’s skill sets over looking at what degree they have.
“We look at college graduates and there is no rhyme or reason on accepting the degrees they have,” Daniel said. “If you have the fortitude to get a degree, you have critical thinking skills and are able to analyze situations among other valuable skills.”
While Andrew Cameron, an enterprise architect with General Motors, said his company was looking specifically for students qualified to work in information technology because of what he said was a “huge shortage of talent in IT,” he is not filtering candidates by major because a well-rounded student tends to be more successful in the industry.
“We feel a well-rounded set of skills is what will make you most successful,” Cameron said.
Both Daniel and Cameron also recruit at other universities. Howard said recruiters like these are hiring many students, returning every semester — despite beliefs students may have about a job market that isn’t hiring.
“The employers are hiring — students just have to be active job seekers,” Howard said. “These employers come to the university to look specifically for college students so that they aren’t picking from the general community.”
Students interested in attending the career fair must be dressed in professional attire. More information can be found at usf.edu/career-services/events.