Lehigh University held its seventh spring career fair on March 4 in Grace Hall, with over 60 participating organizations present. This year had the highest employer attendance in the event’s history.
The fair aims to support those targeting careers in nonprofits, public relations, social services, media, marketing, entertainment, education, government and the arts. Business and engineering firms were recruiting, as well.
Each firm sent representatives to speak to students and set up in booths to answer questions and provide information on their company’s business dynamics and strategy.
“What I liked most about going to the career fair is how willing the employers are to help you out in whatever way possible,” business student Ryan Ladell, ’17, said. “They are quick to take down your name and resume, and urge you to stay in contact with them.”
This sentiment is shared not only by students, but by employers as well.
“Speaking with these students takes me back to my days when I was in their shoes, I feel like we all were,” said a representative from Epic, a software developing company. “It’s refreshing to hear students with such maturity and motivation to reach their professional goals and career paths.”
Many students took advantage of the fair. Each of the near 80 tables, had a constant line of students waiting to speak to the firms and their representatives.
“It is really important to form connections with the representatives from the companies,” Matthew Turner, ’16, said. “Being outgoing and creating a memorable conversation, even if it’s the slightest thing, is huge. Especially when there’s as much competition for jobs as there is nowadays.”
Students like Turner were urged by many firm representatives to stay in contact via email or LinkedIn.
Karen Kuczynski, a career counselor at Career Services, helped organize the event and bring in companies.
“Our office works to identify organizations and industries that show growth trends in hiring in order to develop a mutually beneficial relationship,” Kuczynski said.
Students at the career fair spanned the Lehigh’s three colleges, however the companies that come depend mostly on the needs of certain organizations.
“Some industries and companies are more likely to recruit at career fairs more then others,” Kuczynski said. “However, there are varied ways in which students can gain exposure and opportunities to industries that aren’t represented.”
One of these ways in through the use of networking websites, such as LinkedIn.
“The employment turnout is one statistic that’s hard to gather,” Kuczynski said. “Career fairs are really an introduction point for students and employers. After a career fair, employers will invite students for interviews either on campus, via Skype, or on-site interviews.”
Seventeen companies held interviews in Career Services the day after the Fall 2014 career fair, resulting in over 150 students being interviewed. Kuczynski said that the interview numbers after the Spring 2015 career fair where lower mostly because of the inclement weather.
“There were still over 50 interviews that were conducted,” she said.
Kuczynski also said that the name of the event used to be “job fair,” rather than “career fair.” The new name was thought to represent the event better.
Lehigh career fairs are a stage for students to engage with their potential career fields, instead of getting a job on the spot.