ASU students have proved a good fit as well for Starbucks’ innovation-driven work culture, said company program manager Jessica Gabry. It’s likely that a high percentage of the first cohort of student interns hired as part of a growing ASU-Starbucks educational partnership will become full-time employees, she said.

USAA, a group of insurance and financial services companies, looks for students who exude confidence, are well-spoken and have applied what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world experiences.

“We’ve had a lot of success finding students like that at ASU,” USAA recruiter Cody Phillips said.

The same goes for Texas Instruments. Students are “so excited and passionate” about their studies and research projects that it makes them particularly attractive job candidates, said recruiter Lindsay Weimar.

Important experience for students

Even though recruiters are eager to meet the potential interns and employees, some students still find the Career Fair experience challenging.

Alexandra Self, a senior in mechanical engineering, and Marlee Rogers, who has completed studies for a degree in aerospace engineering, said the crowds at some Career Fair sessions can make students feel they are getting lost in the shuffle of all the hectic activity. But they said that meeting recruiters face-to-face provides students the optimal opportunity for landing a job or internship.

Sophomore computer science major Ariana Kiaei and fellow sophomore James Torla, an aerospace engineering major, both students in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, said they are attending Career Fairs now so that they will be seasoned veterans in navigating the job-search process by their junior and senior years.

After the recent Career Fair days, 23 companies stayed on campus to conduct interviews with almost 300 students interviewed during On-Campus Interviewing Day.

Many more students will be interviewed on campus, at employer sites or virtually in the coming weeks. Several companies and organizations reported making on-the-spot job offers to students at Career Fairs and during the On-Campus Interviewing Day.

From a single engineering Career Fair 10 years ago, in the spring of 2008 — with 38 companies and 850 students in attendance — the Fulton Schools now has eight engineering-focused Career Fair days in the spring semester and 14 or more annually.

Preparing students to find a job

The Fulton Schools Career Center prepares students year-round for Career Fairs and other job and internship search opportunities.

The center offers students the services of career development specialists and peer career coaches. There are also Rapid Résumé Reviews with industry representatives.

In addition, the center offers in-person sessions and webinars for students and organizations to learn effective résumé writing, internship and job search techniques, LinkedIn profile tips and successful technical, coding and behavioral interviewing.

Career Center director Robin Hammond advises students to check in regularly on the Career Center’s Handshake website (“Connecting talent to opportunity”). The site enables them to complete their profiles and upload a résumé and to check daily for opportunities to apply for internships and jobs.

Hammond also emphasizes that students should practice interviewing, presentation and soft skills, join student organizations, and LinkedIn professional groups, and follow up job-search-related interactions with appropriate personal messages appropriate to the situation, along with a LinkedIn request.

And while career fairs are important, Hammond encourages students to also attend tech talks, information sessions, invent-a-thons, maker events, professional meet-ups, pitch competitions, and other events where they might meet hiring managers, networking contacts or ASU alumni.

“A job search can feel like a part-time or even full-time job, and in some ways it is,” Hammond said, “but with the right attitude and a focused strategy, you can position yourself to be a sought-after job candidate and a successful hire.”

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering