Career fair: An SCOM student’s experience

“JMU has so many great students! I wish I could hire them all,” said a representative from Edward Jones. Last week in the Festival Ballroom, the James Madison University Career Fair drew in students from all majors and concentrations to make a good impression any one of over 100 business, companies and organizations in attendance.

As a communication major, I thought there wouldn’t be a large selection of employers that would be interested in my skill set. As I wandered around the tables in my spiffy blazer, I finally gained enough courage to approach a table and say,

“Hi, my name is Shadi. I’m a communications major with a concentration in public relations, would your company have a place for someone with my skill set?” and what the rep said next shocked me.

A representative from Willow Tree Apps said to me, “Oh for sure, we are always looking for communications people!” After talking with her, I spoke to more than 15 representatives and I learned five lessons from recruiters as about the SCOM major:

  • Companies are looking for communication majors to help with any number of tasks. According to a representative from ING, SRA and Willow Tree Apps, communication majors are desired because they can create strong relationships with clients, help companies communicate its mission successfully to its publics and branding.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply to a company that may not directly seem like a communications specific job. While it may seem that companies are not looking for communication majors, by simply asking what positions use communication skills, most companies will speak at length with me.
  • Use “buzzwords” when talking to companies. A representative from Booz Allen Hamilton stated that employers only look at your resume for 5-10 seconds before deciding which pile your resume goes into. The same goes for interviews as well: make sure you use buzzwords in your interview to show the employer that you match the job description.
  • Know when to say “No.” One frustration with the career fair was that some employers assumed that because I am a communication major, I have great interpersonal skills and would want to do sales, which is not true for me. Be sure to keep an open mind but also decide what avenues you want to pursue and which ones you want to avoid early on.
  • Always keep in communication. Most of the employers that I was interested in asked me to email them a copy of my resume and some general information about myself. The best thing to do is email employers the same day with a quick reminder about who you are, and attach your resume.

Did you miss the career fair? Have no fear! Another career fair will take place during spring semester February 17 & 18, 2015 from 11am-3pm where employers will be looking to hire full time employees and interns.

Take it from a fellow SCOM student. It is absolutely worth the awkwardness, the nervousness, and overall anxiety to attend because the biggest thing I learned is that these employers want you to succeed as much as you want to succeed.