Spring Career Expo Is a Time to Shine for Job-Seeking Comets

Graduate student Sam Scott prepared to meet with employers and make his case at the 2018 spring Career Expo. He was looking for a summer internship that would, potentially, launch him into a new career. If you don't see the video, watch it on Vimeo.

UT Dallas graduate student Sam Scott thinks he has a winning combination for potential employers: He has practical work experience as an engineer, and in December, he expects to earn his MBA from the Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM), through the full-time program.

“I can apply a lot of work experience that I already have — that a lot of other students won’t have because they’re undergrads — and then apply it to a different industry. That’s what makes me unique — bringing all those backgrounds together into one package,” Scott said.

Seeking a summer internship, he recently tested his theory at the UT Dallas Career Expo held at the Activity Center, where thousands of students had the opportunity to meet with employers face to face.

The expo was held over two days, with one day dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors and the other to non-STEM majors.

Regina James, director of the UT Dallas Career Center, said employers are not only looking for students with engineering and business backgrounds but also are increasingly seeking potential employees with backgrounds in arts, humanities and communications.

“It’s really great to see employers who are recruiting students from JSOM and the Jonsson School, as well as Arts and Humanities, BBS and EPPS,” James said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that there are opportunities for all students.”

It’s that human aspect of being able to shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye. Sometimes if you have a moment with an individual, you may feel that connection.

Regina James, director of the UT Dallas Career Center

Career Expo events are held each fall and spring. The February event included more than 150 companies meeting with approximately 3,000 students.

James noted the importance of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s that human aspect of being able to shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye. Sometimes if you have a moment with an individual, you may feel that connection,” she said.

Scott said it is a running joke that if a person applies for a job online, the resume seems to disappear into a black hole.

“To get that immediate, face-to-face interaction is so important. An employer can say ‘I like this guy’ or ‘I don’t like this guy.’ Getting to build that rapport is just invaluable,” he said.

Armed with a researched list of employers, Scott knew as soon as he entered the expo floor exactly which companies he was targeting — ones that he thought would appreciate his background in engineering and business.

He met with many employers, including CVS Health, Cinemark and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. He had a number of lengthy discussions with human resources representatives who discussed their hiring needs, while Scott pitched his background and experience.

Before the event began, Scott said his expectations were somewhat low. He said he thought most companies would be seeking undergraduate interns or, alternatively, students to fill full-time positions. However, after spending an hour-and-half meeting with company representatives, he said the expo surpassed his hopes.

“They were, across the board, very accepting of my different background. It made me an attractive candidate, the way that I wanted it to,” Scott said. “I had a really good experience.”

a bird's eye view of students and alumni in the Activity Center for the expo

Approximately 3,000 students participated in the spring Career Expo, which was held over two days. Face-to-face meetings helped students put their best foot forward as they search for jobs.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].