By S. Renee Barrow | LSU Student
College seniors with prospective degrees in technology and engineering have heard they are heading into a hot job market. But the prospects for LSU students who are seeking other degrees are not always as clear.
The would-be engineers, computer gurus, mathematicians and scientists had their day on Tuesday, LSU's Olinde Career Center Expo jammed some 150 company recruiters into the university's Pete Maravich Assembly Center Wednesday to tell liberal arts and business students what was attractive about their intended degrees.
From the oil industry to law schools to non-profits to financial institutions to retail, came answers.
Career Center Director Mary Feduccia said that while graduates with technical and scientific degrees have a more direct career pathway to follow, while those liberal arts degrees may possess a “double-edged” sword.
While these students often come out of school and go into management, communication or sales, said Feduccia, the route to their goals isn't always as direct.
“Employers realize that liberal arts graduates have the qualities they want and look for in [job] candidates,” Feduccia noted. Those qualities include critical thinking and communication skills, said a number of recruiters.
Some companies, such as Target and Benny's Car Wash, says do not care about a graduate's major.
Joshua Mullen, executive team leader of human resources at Target in Lake Charles, graduated from LSU with a degree in Human Resources in May 2013 from LSU, and now recruits students to join the company's management side.
“We aren't degree specific,” Mullen said. “I'm looking for leadership.”
According to Mullen, it can be difficult to obtain and maintain a job while attending school. Extracurricular activities and volunteer work are good ways to achieve leadership positions and demonstrate the ability to lead a team, he noted, giving hope to the philosophy and history majors.
Rob Hetherington, Benny's Car War corporate trainer, said the company does not have a specific type of student or degree it looks for, adding that the company is seeking “good,” trainable people for Benny's management training program.
“Good” is someone who is ambitious and “has somewhere they want to go,” said Hetherington.
Heatherington said the job market is stable and willing and there are plenty of employers out there simply searching for solid candidates.
Sunny Tran, a political science senior and part time Hello Sushi employee from Houma, said he came into college wanting to “do something with teaching” because of the positive influence of his high school civics teacher, but he is no longer setting his sights on a specific field or career. The goal now is “any sort of full-time job.”
“[In] my third year or so in my major, I was disenchanted with it,” Tran said. “Things were starting to get repetitive.”
On his way to speak to a Haliburton recruiter, Tran said other students should see how they feel about their major and switch as soon as they feel it isn't right or won't work out.
While's Tran's undergraduate experience leaves him searching for a career option, another student already has her plan laid out.
Kelly Lantz, accounting senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, has a job as an analyst with Georgia Pacific set up for herself after she graduates in May. Lantz's first degree, obtained in May 2014, is in music.
“I wanted something to compliment my degree. Just being a music major, I don't feel I got the training I needed to be an entrepreneur.”
More than 2,700 students attended over the two days.