Got tech and an hour to spend? Eccles School students connected with representatives from top firms like Microsoft, BioFire, CHG Healthcare Services and Vivint Smart Home recently at the annual Meet the TEKs evening sponsored by TEK Club. Students not only heard about jobs and internships directly from these companies, but also learned more about what skill sets employers seek, worked on interview skills and created valuable connections that will pay off in the short and long term.
The event has grown from a small handful of companies and students to dozens of employers. “It was actually a student’s idea, originally. A double major in Accounting and Information Systems told me about similar Accounting events and suggested putting together one for the TEK Club,” says Laurie Bragg, MSIS Academic Program Manager and Club advisor.
It’s easy to see the value in an event as specialized as this one. The opportunity to forge connections with employers hiring specifically within the tech field is one students take very seriously, said TEK Club President Yashwanth Nerella.
“The potential to find a job is a pretty big bait, so marketing takes care of itself,” he said.
Students speaking with employers and connecting with peers filled the Bill and Pat Child Family Community Hall with an excited buzz. Company reps were equally excited to connect with students. GameStop Tech Brands attended for the first time, while others, like Intermountain Healthcare and the Sorenson Impact Center, welcomed the chance to return. All were eager to share expertise and create mutually-beneficial relationships with students. Employers sought candidates with a strong technical skill set, but other considerations were also key for the ideal new hire.
“An ideal candidate is someone who is skilled in a collaborative environment, a good team player, curious and inquisitive about problems and definitely technically capable,” said Kim Mepham of BioFire.
An ideal candidate also “need[s] to have some experience in the field or a very strong desire to learn, which is crucial for us,” said Nathan Weston of Clearlink. “Our first job when we get a new contract is to figure out how to get the systems to communicate. We are always trying to fill positions, and the ability to learn quickly and problem-solve is key.”
Students saw incredible value in the event whether or not they made a job connection.
“Whether or not you get the job is important, but it is more important to make a positive connection,” TEK Club’s Nerella said of his biggest takeaway from the event. “You may not get the job, but if you make an impression on someone, you never know when another opportunity will come up and they will remember you.”
Yashwanth also sees these events as a chance to refine what makes a suitable candidate and to work on weaknesses. TEK Club Member Poojya Reddy came to the evening seeking a full-time internship, but cued in on some of the other results.
“These are really great companies, and it is great to be able to interact with them, but also to get advice on where to fit in based on your skills and experience,” Poojya said. “An employer will look at what qualities you bring and make suggestions about a position that may be a better fit for you. Between that and the peer-to-peer reviews we get in these environments, these career fairs are great experience.”
TEK Club Finance Director David Yauney says that his biggest take-away is the ability to refine interview skills and personal presentation, since employers spoke with up to 50 students at the event. Yauney liked the opportunity to figure out how to stand out from the pack, adding that these events offer an immensely valuable opportunity, despite the challenge of organizing it.
TEK Club had help from the Corporate Outreach team, who recruited some new companies to the event.
“These employers are here for students with specific majors,” Bragg said. “This career fair is highly specialized, even more than STEM. It’s great to see students have this chance.”
Keep an eye out for the next opportunity in the Fall!