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Published April 13, 2024

UMN Job & Internship Fair connects students to a variety of career opportunities

With a variety of employers present, students were able to network with corporations about future careers and internships.
Fyonn+Olielo+attends+the+University+of+Minnesota+Job+%26+Internship+Fair+at+Huntington+Bank+Stadium+in+Minneapolis%2C+Minnesota+on+Monday%2C+Feb.+26%2C+2024.+Multiple+different+businesses+set+up+booths+to+talk+to+students+about+their+career+aspirations.+The+fair+is+the+largest+job+fair+at+the+University+that+is+open+to+students+of+all+majors.+
Image by Gabrielle Erenstein
Fyonn Olielo attends the University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Multiple different businesses set up booths to talk to students about their career aspirations. The fair is the largest job fair at the University that is open to students of all majors.

University of Minnesota students attended the University’s largest job fair, held at Huntington Bank Stadium and the McNamara Alumni Center, on Monday to network with companies and explore different career options. 

Various employers set up booths across both venues, providing students with brochures, business cards and free merchandise. The Minnesota Alumni Association had two photographers on site to provide free professional headshots. 

There will also be a virtual job fair held on Feb. 28 through the Handshake website, a resource connecting students with employers, alumni and their school’s career center for information about jobs and careers. 

Yasmiin Abdinur, a second-year sociology of law, criminology and justice major, said she thinks the job fair has a variety of jobs that cater to students’ job and career interests. 

“It was very easy to speak to [employers],” Abdinur said. “They understood that we’re students and they gave us grace if we stuttered.” 

Abdinur said she attended the fair with her friends to get a feel for what to expect heading into the working world. 

“I had my elevator pitch prepared, however, I wasn’t really looking for an internship this year,” Abdinur said. “I’m browsing for next year, so I didn’t have my resume.” 

Brittany Maloney, a program assistant for St. Paul Public Schools, represented the school district at the fair. She said she encourages students to find a common connection with the school district that applies to their major. 

Maloney said an example is a student majoring in biology who may find a job in the school district through leading science-related activities, and many students can apply their major to a position within education. 

“I’m just looking for people who are interested and passionate with working with kids,” Maloney said. “When I bring people onto the team, I want that person to feel comfortable, safe, welcomed and feel that this is where they’re meant to be.” 

Sara Nagel Newberg, executive director of the Career Services Administration, which represents all the schools in the University system, said the administration invites employers to the job fair based on where past students have ended up and their career interests. 

This information is tracked through students’ activity on Handshake. 

“We don’t know specifically from majors what a student is interested in,” Newberg said. “A student could be majoring in communications but wants to work in sales, so the Handshake data is really important because it helps us know what directions people are taking.” 

Newberg said although this University-wide job fair has been around for over 20 years, she wants it to supplement other fairs put on by individual colleges at the University. 

“We don’t want a lot of employers in a niche area that’s already got a strong fair,” Newberg said. “We’re trying to make sure we’re offering things that aren’t already offered.” 

Fatuma Aidid, a first-year student who is undecided about a major, said companies offered many job opportunities, which allowed her to learn more about different career paths. 

She added she is worried about regretting her career choice having not yet declared a major.

“I’m interested in computer science, but I haven’t looked into it yet,” Aidid said. “There’s one [company] I looked into, but they needed people with more experience.” 

While some companies have different expectations about the types of experiences they want future employees to have, Maloney said St. Paul Public Schools do not factor in majors when considering potential job candidates. 

The only requirement to apply for a position within St. Paul Public Schools is to have 600 hours of childcare experience, according to Maloney. 

“We’re opening up more doors and avenues of letting people know, ‘Oh, you don’t have this or that [experience]? Maybe you have this instead,’” Maloney said. 

Ariana Yasmin, a second-year student studying psychology, came to the job fair to find a variety of opportunities to broaden her experience beyond her usual jobs working at two autism therapy centers. 

“I found eight employers that I was really interested in and that really helped me to cater my resume towards those employers,” Yasmin said. 

Yasmin added she was nervous about talking to employers despite having prepared for the job fair by printing out copies of her resume and researching companies beforehand. 

“I hope to continue on my path and get to positions that are higher than the ones I’m in now,” Yasmin said. 

Newberg said she encourages students to explore all parts of the fair, which is why employers are not grouped together but instead are spread apart across both venues. 

“They’ll miss things if they go to one clump [of employers] and then don’t see the whole thing,” Newberg said. “We think we’re better serving students by having it all integrated.” 

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