Students and employers exchanged a flurry of handshakes, resumes and elevator pitches as the Career Development Center's eighth annual Internship & Job Fair got underway on Jan. 31. The fair afforded nearly 700 students opportunities to interact and connect with more than 80 employers from an array of industries.
"The career fairs are always a great opportunity to meet with employers," said Nick Pettit '17, an economics major. "As a senior, this year's fair gave me the chance to match a name to a face — of an alum I had been speaking with about a company I'm interested in."
While some students made their way through a maze of tables featuring different employers on Gerhard Fieldhouse's periphery, others took the time to create nametags, grab a bite to eat, take new LinkedIn photos and consult with CDC counselors stationed in the center of the space.
The Internship & Job Fair and similar CDC events attract students across each grade level. Soni Madnani '20 used the fair as an opportunity to kick-start her professional development.
"The career fair was a great opportunity for me, as a first-year, to dress up and get a glimpse of what the professional scene is like," explained Madnani, who has not yet declared a major. "Once I built up the nerve to walk up to a company I was interested in, I learned that the employees actually want to hear about who you are and what you want to do."
The fair offered students across majors and interests a chance to speak with a range of employers. Companies and organizations at the January fair ranged from Deloitte and Coca-Cola Enterprises to the Peace Corps and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.
"It's fantastic seeing students be so broad-minded," said Glenn Stevens '85, CEO of Gain Capital. "What I mean by that is, broad-minded geographically, and broad-minded from a perspective of speaking to organizations that are for profit and not for profit. Bucknell is not your cookie-cutter production facility for finance people or engineers. It seems as though the students are very comfortable being open to different opportunities."
An Array of Events
Beyond the spring Internship & Job Fair, the CDC hosts an array of other events, including the annual fall Employer Expo, which draws more than 700 students and 100 employers as the largest fair; the Health & Law School Fair; and the Engineering Career Network Event, which is co-sponsored with the College of Engineering.
In addition, the CDC hosts several off-campus fairs, complete with transportation, to give students opportunities to interact with employers who do not make the trip to Lewisburg. Annual off-campus fairs include the New York City Finance Fair, the New York City Communications & Arts Fair and the D.C. Career Fair. The fairs are timed to align with hiring seasons. For example, firms in the finance industry tend to seek new employees in the early fall, so late-spring networking events can afford students more time to develop and use the relationships started at the fair in the fall recruitment cycle. The CDC regularly revisits the timing and organization of each fair to maximize their benefit to students.
Alison Ordonez, associate director of the CDC, reflected on the role of the fairs within students' career development and job search processes, and said the CDC is there to help students throughout their job search.
"It is important for students to be aware that career fairs are only one type of many job and internship search venues and strategies that they may want to utilize," Ordonez explained. "Industries, as well as companies within those industries, can vary greatly in how, when and where they promote their job and internship opportunities to students. It is very valuable for students to meet with CDC counselors to help determine the best search strategies based upon the student's individual career interests."
Each fair sees a wealth of companies interacting with Bucknell students, and many feature alumni who are back to recruit from their alma mater. Kiren Donaldson '16, a marketing data analyst at Crossix, a health care analytics company, reiterated the benefits of more recent alumni returning to take part in the recruiting process.
"It makes the environment more friendly and fun for students who maybe haven't been to a career fair or are nervous about finding a position after college, because we were just in their shoes," she said.
Avid Khorramian '17, who majors in markets, innovation & design, is an Undergraduate Executive Intern in the Division of Communications.