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Seeking Suggestions: How Can We Expand SIAM Career Fairs?

Have you been to a SIAM career fair? We’ve been running these at our Annual Meetings (among others) for at least 15 years. These events are geared towards graduate students looking for information about careers in industry or national labs. We’re currently considering expanding our career fair program and are interested in your suggestions on how to do that.

These fairs are a great way for students to make connections with industry leaders, learn more about opportunities and jobs in many different areas, including internships, postdoctoral appointments, and entry level jobs, and get questions answered. Specifically, students often gain information about what companies offer, what jobs entail, and how one finds employment in companies. This is important because hiring in the corporate sector has a much more heterogeneous set of practices than in academia. Aside from the benefits to students, these events serve the needs of those companies and labs seeking talented individuals trained in applied mathematics, data science, and/or computational science.

Job seekers interact with Career Fair exhibitors at the 2017 SIAM Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa.

From community feedback, we know past career fairs have been valuable to participants, but limited in scope. At our most recent meetings, we’ve had about 20-25 companies and labs represented at the career fair. About 20-25% of students at the conferences submit resumes in advance, for participating companies to review. Other students drop in without submitting a resume.

To improve these experiences for students, we’re brainstorming new ideas, like offering more sessions at SIAM conferences that would help prepare students for the corporate or lab job market. Do students want insight on how to write a resume for this type of job; how to give a 3-minute elevator speech on your qualifications and what you have to offer a company; or career paths through the corporate world?

We want to hear from you! Tell us YOUR suggestions for how to improve our career fairs. Please leave your input in the comments of this post, or email to Jim Crowley, SIAM Executive Director, at crowley@siam.org. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful insights!

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