Feb. 4, 2020

Reverse career fair puts arts students in the spotlight

Students showcase breadth of their abilities and diversity of the arts faculty to employers at Discover Arts event

For the last three years, the Faculty of Arts Co-operative Program has hosted a career fair with a twist. Instead of employers taking the helm, students staff the tables and present displays of their skills and experience. The Discover Arts event is appreciated by students as an opportunity to not only show their education, skills, and job experience but also to communicate with potential employers on a more personal level about their interests and goals.

On Jan. 29, the third annual reverse career fair was held, and had a great turnout. There were 23 student participants from a range of programs including economics, communications, history, sociology, and geography. Students possess a variety of skills, including speaking a different language, graphic and marketing design, and coding in Python. The students showed great creativity in their digital-made posters and brought energy and eagerness when showing employers the knowledge and skills they have developed while pursuing their arts degree.  

  • Photo above: Ebenezer Belayneh, right, shares his poster with an employer from Canada Energy Regulator. Photos by Eric Chen, for Discover Arts
Mariam, left, a political science student, speaks with an employer from Carbon Upcycling Technologies.

Mariam, a political science student, speaks with an employer from Carbon Upcycling Technologies.

Dr. Pascale Sicotte, vice-dean of arts, and Dr. Dawn Johnston, associate dean, welcomed students and employers to the career fair. They both highlighted how amazing it was that student participants understood and articulated their degree and skills so well while highlighting how those skills would transfer to the workplace.

Ebenezer Belayneh, student participant, says, “Oftentimes, I find that recruiters are unaware of our potential as arts students, and being able to communicate my academic and professional achievements was very eye-opening for those who attended.”

A total of 24 employers attended from organizations including Canada Energy Regulator, Critical Mass, YMCA, the University of Calgary, and many more. Employers were pleased to see that some students were so prepared, they created and handed out their own business cards. To add to the event’s success, CBC Radio attended, interviewed students and employers, and shared the event on the radio.

Employers discovered how well-rounded, diverse and capable arts students are and could see how they would be an asset to their team. Both students and employers made meaningful connections for the future and enjoyed this unique opportunity to learn about each other.

Pascale Sicotte and Dawn Johnston kick off the event with a welcoming speech to employers and students.

Pascale Sicotte and Dawn Johnston kick off the event with a speech to employers and students.