Student athletes discover opportunities at career fair
PROVO, Utah – The BYU Athletic Department held its fifth annual Student Athlete Career Fair on Oct. 3, featuring representatives from over 30 local and national businesses.
“I heard some success stories and I’m halfway through my time at BYU, so I figured it’s time to start putting names to faces in the real world,” said BYU gymnast Shannon Hortman Evans. “It helps you get out there and get experience talking to representatives from companies.”
Booths were set up all around the Cougar Club room at Lavell Edwards Stadium, with well-known Utah county brands such as Doterra, Vivint and Qualtrics looking to attract hard-working and motivated student athletes to contribute to their companies.
One of the nationally-recognized companies at the career fair was non-profit Teach for America, which trains college graduates as teachers and sends them to inner-city schools for two years, prior to the individual beginning their career in whatever field they have chosen.
“Teach for America looks for people that are interested in giving back, and we love the BYU slogan: enter to learn, go forth to serve,” TFA representative and BYU alumnus Addie Hulme said. “We find a lot of students here not only trying to find a job, but trying to find a way to impact their communities.”
BYU Student Athlete Welfare Coordinator Paul Tidwell said that 232 athletes were in attendance in his third fall fair as the event’s organizer. Another fair will be held for the winter semester on Jan. 23, 2019.
“We are trying to build a stronger culture for our student athletes regarding their preparation for a career after sport; get them thinking about resumes, networking, and interviewing,” Tidwell said. “Having the Career Fair gives them these opportunities and gets them in front of companies where they can find what they are interested in, or not interested in, and get them to learn how to introduce themselves and talk.”
Many of the student athletes come to the fair every year throughout their BYU careers, not necessarily looking to be hired right away, but researching their options for the future and learning how to interact in a professional setting.
“I’ve been coming for about three years,” BYU baseball player Brock Hale said. “I’m really interested in having a job after I finish here at BYU and I would say it definitely starts here. For me it’s research on what companies are going to be able to help you the most and that you can benefit as well.”
BYU student athletes have tight schedules, between school and sports, and often do not have time to spend reaching out to companies and traveling for meetings or interviews. The fair brings the companies to the students, and sets aside a short time for them to interact.
“For me it’s hard to network when we have so much school and basketball,” women’s basketball player Caitlyn Alldredge said. “So when they give us opportunities it’s really nice to take advantage. It’s worth it to come.”