Career fairs are still successful in today’s economy! It is easy to think “why are there career fairs when the job market is so down?” One answer, the market still needs employees and colleges have an abundance of eager students chomping at the bit, and rearing to go.

In one part of the movie “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” there are two rival hit men who team up to look for gold hidden in a cemetery, each keeping their half of the clue to themselves, I would not call that team work!

However, Career Fairs: the employers, Career Centers: the mediators, and Students: the future employees are a team that share ALL their clues to find the treasure.

The Bad:

  • The economy!
  • The job market!
  • Employers still come to career fairs but their attendance rate is predicted to have a slight drop for 2009. To counter this, “employers may put more emphasis on social networking as a recruiting tool.”

The Good:

  • A NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) survey showed that students who used career center resources intensely were more likely to land a job or get a job offer than others who didn’t use or used the career center in a limited way.
  • 50 percent of those who reported intense use had a job offer compared to 43 percent of those who didn’t use the career center.

Colleges and their Career Centers have made adjustments to the ways they market career fairs and prepare students. The marketing has shifted towards seniors and alumni who “need jobs more now than ever.” There is a new focus on the marketing of Career Fairs like live video cam and blogging during the fair. Career Centers are doing everything to promote the event to make these events worthwhile for their students and the employers. A new addition in preparation for career fairs is to “ensure that students and alumni have a competitive edge are: miniature series of workshops to learn about resume preparation, what to say to recruiters at the career fair, what is proper business attire, and participate in a mock interview.

The Career Fair:

Some universities are taking advantage of ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) at career fairs, ready to “assist students on how to maximize their time at the fair and present their 30 second pitch” to recruiters. Some career fairs are focusing events just on graduating seniors so that they have a smooth transition from college to career.

The economy has had a tangible impact on career services operations. But offices that are successful have identified challenges and adapted the way they deliver resources and services.

Today is not the time to skip career fairs, employers are coming out of their way to colleges to find employees, when people are already coming to them. Career Fairs are a privilege and having them ready and waiting for students and alumni to start networking is a huge benefit to your job search. Career fairs require a joint effort employer-employee. So when they come to campus, go to them, and get a leg up in the job hunt! Like Clint Eastwood you can ride away at the end with the loot in your saddle bags…maybe.

For further information on this NACE article

Written by: Amanda Gilliam, Class of 2012