Leading up to the University Career Fair, it is not uncommon to hear some of the more pessimistic members of campus grumble that it has insufficient opportunities for them: only engineers benefit, employers don’t want underclassmen, it does not apply to international students. However, statistics from this year indicate otherwise.
Drew Poppleton, associate director of employer relations at the Career Center, called the Oct. 3 fair “a smashing success.” A total of 1,399 people, including undergraduates, graduate students and alumni, attended this year’s fair, up from the 1,100 seen last year.
Representatives were sent by 135 employers and, despite having roughly the same number of companies as last year, offered more opportunities for internships, jobs and co-ops. Around 91 percent of employers hoped to find full-time job candidates, 45 percent offered co-ops and 62 percent had internship positions available for freshman through doctoral students.
Notably, the fair also offered more opportunities for positions outside of Ohio, reflecting the trend that incoming classes increasingly hail from elsewhere. Even international students, who often have greater difficulty finding jobs, saw a significant increase in representation at the career fair, with 44 percent of employers willing to hire.
Many students feel particular concern over a perceived lack of employer interest in College of Arts and Sciences majors. Bill Tomaszewski, a sophomore biomedical engineering major and RA in Michelson House, noted some minor pessimism among his peers and residents.
“There was some concern that there would not be sufficient opportunities for some majors, but I still encouraged people to come out,”
Tomaszewski said. Despite the worries, he felt that the fair had a nice range of employers from different markets.
Poppleton insisted the notion that only engineers could find positions was untrue, showing that nearly a third of employers looked to recruit from the College of Arts and Sciences and Weatherhead School of Management.
“It really is a big fair for all majors,” he said. “It is inclusive of all students and alumni.”
The Career Center also worried that first year students might avoid the fair, thinking that opportunities only existed for upperclassmen. However, a quarter of employers sought freshmen for internship positions in a wide variety of fields.
Even if students failed to secure that ambitious freshman internship, the fair offered ample information about what to strive for when seeking positions. Poppleton emphasized the experiential and informational value of the fair, whether students learn to pick up a new extracurricular or sign up for a spring semester class that employers like to see.
“It is not too early to start thinking about these things,” he said. “Students can use that knowledge just to get out there.”
David Graybill, a freshman mechanical engineering major, echoed that sentiment. “As a first year, it was good to go, just to see what it was all about,” he said. “The representatives were talking and engaging and I learned what is good for a resume.”
Graybill hopes to take the experience from this year’s fair to return in a stronger position for an internship next year.