Alex Stephanou, '15, talks to the Navy representative at the Career Fair. (Toni Isreal/ B&W photo)

Students compete for employment at career fair

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Lehigh students want jobs.

On Sept. 15 during the Career Expo, 1,808 students were connected to 381 representatives from 159 companies. Twenty companies were on campus the following day to conduct over 150 interviews with Lehigh students.

Statistics like these often lead to competition among students, from eager-eyed first-years who just started their academic journey to sleepy-eyed seniors who, after four or more years of sleepless nights, cannot wait to get jobs right after graduation.

This competition translates to the job and internship search many students are currently going through.

“Jobs are scarce because there aren’t many positions available, so there is a sense of competition,” Will Hassell, ’19, said. “It’s never too early to start looking for a job. For finance, it is definitely competitive. For example, 200,000 people apply to Goldman (Sachs) every summer and only 2,000 end up getting it.”

Karen Kuczynski, the associate director of career and professional development, said the career fair was more successful this year than it has been in years past. Around 1,600 students attended the fair in 2015.

Kuczynski said the goal of the career center isn’t to foster a sense of competition. It is to aid and educate students in their career development and to help students connect with potential higher-ups.

“We hope to educate students in regards to their career interests: how to develop career skills, how to write a resume, set up a LinkedIn profile, how to act during interviews,” Kuczynski said. “From there we want to encourage students to gain experience, because we want them to find out what they like as soon as possible.”

Kuczynski said the career fair will not get students jobs immediately after attending. Rather, it serves as more of a place for students to ask questions and learn about the application process, which makes applying for jobs easier when the time comes.

Cindy Phuong, ’18, said there is a sense of competition because Lehigh students are smart and attractive to companies, so she started the job search early and works hard to get a good GPA. However, she said the competitiveness of Lehigh only enhanced the sense of community.

“There are so many students around campus who you see networking, and it inspires them,” Phuong said. “The school isn’t a place that only fosters a sense of competition, but it also fosters a sense of community. We are all in the same position of looking for a job.”

Kuczynski said that the career center’s priority is student leadership development and making sure each student’s limited time at Lehigh is not wasted.

“We want students to gain exposure and then utilize their skills to put it to a test,” Kuczynski said.

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