Amidst an economic crash, UP is hoping to help students connect with potential employers

UP Internship and Job Expo being held Monday, Oct. 26

By Laura Heffernan | October 23, 2020 5:26pm

The Career Center is hosting and co-hosting multiple events to help students find internships and jobs amidst the economic crash caused by COVID-19.

Photo illustration courtesy of Adobe Images

With local businesses and economies suffering as a result of the pandemic, entry level positions and internships can be harder to come by for college students entering the workforce. Two career expos are scheduled for this upcoming week at the University of Portland for students seeking jobs and internships. 

The Career Center is partnering with employers for both the SHPE STEM Career Expo, which started today, and the UP Internship and Job Expo on Oct. 26. Both events will take place through Handshake. Both expos are open to all UP students as well as recent graduates.

To prepare for these events, the Career Center held a mock fair on Oct. 20. This mock fair aimed to familiarize students with the Handshake platform, prepare students for the virtual fair and give them the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with career counselors.

For the expos, students have to join the event on Handshake and sign up for individual sessions with the employers to ensure a spot in that group. It is important to sign up for sessions ahead of time before they fill up. As students sign up for each session, Handshake will compile the schedule based off of students’ registrations and demands. 

Even with a schedule being made, it is important for students to be their own timekeepers especially if sessions overlap. The mock fair aimed to provide students with the appropriate language and protocols to leave those sessions smoothly, Internship and Engagement Coordinator Audrey Fancher said.

It is also recommended when preparing for the virtual expos that students update their profiles on Handshake in a way that the profile will appear like a resume to employers. Appointments and open office hours are also available at the Career Center to help build a resume. 

While the SHPE expo was tailored more towards STEM majors, there can be more flexibility regarding majors in the UP Internship and Job Expo. For those whose majors may not be what specific employers are looking for, the Career Center can help form a persuasive argument as to why they are still good candidates for that position. 

“If you’re really motivated to work there and you’ve done your research and can articulate why you’d be a good fit and add value to their internship program, employers don’t particularly care about majors most of the time,” Fancher said.

The SHPE expo being more specific towards STEM majors helped those students in finding internships because the STEM employers typically finalize their hires for summer internships and jobs by Thanksgiving, Industry Relations Manager Kate Rohl said. 

The SHPE Stem Career Expo was spread out throughout the week and was in part hosted by the student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers club (SHPE) alongside the Career Center. 

Monday included lightning talks, which are information sessions for students to know more about the employers. These sessions were both live and recorded. Wednesday was a resume review day hosted by SHPE. Friday marked the beginning of networking between students and employers. 

The Career Center remains open remotely this semester and retains its normal hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Career Center is available to help students with career paths, build resumes and teach students how to search for internships that fit them best. 

This semester especially, the Career Center aims to help students feel supported and confident in their next steps. 

Laura Heffernan is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at