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Conquering the Gies Virtual Career Fair (2/11) as a Humanities Major

If you’re looking for a job after graduation in May (talking to you, seniors) or a paid summer internship (looking at the rest of you), the Gies Virtual Career Fair on Thursday, Feb. 11 is worth checking out.

Yes, there will be employers there interested in hiring you IF

  • You want a job working for a business (as opposed to nonprofit orgs or government)
  • You are prepared to talk about your work experience (including retail, food service, warehouse, and the like) and your SKILLS (rather than your major).
  • You can take some time between now and then to research the employers you want to focus on.  (The Handshake page for the employer is a great place to start — but also go to their website.)

If you’re not sure if any of these things apply to you, it might be worth going anyway — a virtual career fair is a great low-stakes way to practice talking to employers (a skill that gets easier the more you do it).

See this list.  We’ve identified the employers who are looking for broad skills, rather than specific things like accounting or finance. There are a lot of them. We’ve bolded the ones that may be of particular interest to humanities majors. More information about the positions they’re filling may be available by visiting their Handshake page and going to their website.

The Openings for Humanities Majors

The employers most interested in talking to you tend to cluster in the following ways. Don’t be alarmed if the employers are not specifically looking for YOUR major — employers care much more about skills than major.

Sales (business development, account management, account executive, etc.)

This is by far the largest employment category for humanities majors represented at the Gies fair. Many companies need some form of sales (though they call it a lot of different things, and it takes a lot of different forms). Sales is often the entry-level path for a career that can go in a lot of different directons — but some people stay in sales because they like the challenges it presents (and the income it can yield). The thing to emphasize for these jobs is your communication skills and your problem-solving abilities: your capacity to build relationships, listen carefully, and help people find solutions.

Specialized forms of sales:

  • Recruiters, staffing companies (matching job-seekers with employers)
  • Transportation and logistics (working with existing customers to solve their problems and keep their business)

Leadership development, rotational programs, management trainee

These are programs that employers use to cultivate their managerial talent. They are explicitly training programs, lasting usually one or two years, at the end of which people who have been successful in the program are offered more permanent employment. They exist in a wide range of industries, and generally do not require industry-specific knowledge are background. These employers are looking for evidence of your potential: the leadership qualities you’ve demonstrated so far, your sense of ambition, your interest in learning and growing in their company. The thing to emphasize for these jobs is your experience leading or being a crucial member of a team or organization, your interest in the industry, your ability to learn quickly, and your work ethic.

Consulting and other random things

Check out the following list of requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a graduation date on or before May 2021
  • Strong academic course load and performance
  • Demonstrated leadership and collaboration skills
  • Desire to learn how corporations are using technology to enhance strategy and operations
  • Ability to articulate complex ideas in a concise manner
  • Willingness to travel up to 40% domestically or internationally
  • Willingness to re-locate to the St. Louis area
  • Not requiring work visa sponsorship
These are the qualities required to be a “Associate Consultant — Digital Operations” for Maryville Consultants. If you can lay claim to those bullet points, you can reasonably apply to this job. Note that no major is specified. There are jobs with lists of requirements like this — often with daunting titles. The thing to emphasize for these jobs is your ability to demonstrate the skills they’re looking for — starting with your strong interest in the thing the company does. You can demonstrate that interest by reading up on the company, understanding what they do and what they need from the person they hire for the role, and asking intelligent questions. 

(If none of these possibilities interest you, that’s fine — virtual career fairs are a specialized subset of the hiring that takes place every year. Many employers prefer other ways to get the entry-level talent. Make an appointment with us to talk about how to get in front of employers you DO want to talk to.)

What do you do at a Virtual Career Fair? 

Learn more about how to succeed at a virtual career fair here.

Some basics:

First, have your resume updated and ready to upload. Find some tips here.

Second, make sure you have a stable internet connection and you can log onto Handshake.

Third, be camera ready. Your initial interactions will all be via text, but it’s good to be prepared if a recruiter invites you to turn your camera on. Make sure everything onscreen looks office-ready (collared shirt/tie/jacket, professional top) and well-groomed. Check your look in a Zoom screen — not your mirror — to make sure recruiters will see what you want them to see. Pants are optional, of course — but they may give you a psychological boost.

Fourth, enter a virtual room containing an employer you want to talk to.

Fifth, introduce yourself via text — don’t just lurk wordlessly. It’s helpful to start with an  intelligent question, customized to the employer. Have a few talking points in mind: specific experiences, skills, or strengths that you want the employer to know about. Don’t start with your major! It’s not a shameful secret, but an employer is going to be much more curious about your strengths and experience, and the major by itself doesn’t tell them what they want to know about you.

Want some advice or help with your resume before Thursday? Make an appointment with us. It’s what we’re here for.