Emily Burnette had high expectations as she entered the 2012 Fall Careers Days fair, held at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“Last year, I did have an internship, and it exposed me to what corporate America is really like,” Burnette (junior-supply chain and information systems) said. “This year, I’m here to look for something more relevant to my major, as well as explore other options.”
This year’s annual Fall Career Days fair held more employers and companies than last year’s by nine percent, exceeding over 500 companies. Senior Director of Career Services Jeff Garis attributes these numbers to the quality of students here at Penn State.
“We’ve known for a long time that employers appreciate Penn State. Penn State is a quality institution with well-prepared, professional students,” Garis said. “We are seeing so many major employers, our students should be confident about the event.”
Assistant Dean of Internships and Career Placement of the College of Communications Bob Martin said students should enter the fair well-prepared and with a clear idea of what exactly they are searching for.
“We always tell our students that they should plan out their time at the fair first by going on the web site, and figure out what companies they are interested in,” Martin said. “Students should map out their day at the fair and make the most of their time there.”
Fall Career Days was held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the gates of the event were filled with students dressed in business attire waiting to check in at the student registration desk. To get into the event, a student ID was required, and upon registration, students received a nametag with their name and major.
Each day of the fair held different types of companies for students’ recruitment preferences. Tuesday was for non-technical careers, Wednesday was for internship and career co-op opportunities, and Thursday was for technical careers.
Burnette came prepared for the event, previously researching companies and planning out her time at the fair in advance.
“My plan of action for today is to get to as many employers as possible, with emphasis on my most important top picks,” Burnette said. “I want to introduce myself and make a good first impression, and learn about all of the different companies.”
Upon approaching all of the different companies, Burnette said she felt comfortable throughout the entire day dealing with all of the recruiters.
“The employers seem very approachable and give off the vibe that I can just casually talk and be myself,” Burnette said. “Every recruiter starts off differently, so the hardest part of it all is starting the conversation.”
Leaving the event, having handed out her resume to several companies, Burnette said she felt confident about her career opportunities.
“I feel very accomplished and very pleasantly surprised with the turn out of the event,” Burnette said. “I felt as if everyone was interested in my well-being and helping me succeed. I felt less like I was being quizzed by them and more like I was being mentored.”
With the youth unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year olds being at 17.1 percent in July, according to research in a press release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Garis said the number of employers present at the fair should be seen by students as a good sign of their successful futures.
“The number of employers demonstrates a good sign,” Garis said. “The fair and on-campus interviewing will continue to keep it really strong, and students are also advised to develop strong, professional relationships with the career office.”
The number of employers at the event, Martin said, besides introducing students in a professional setting, also reflects the hard work of the career officials at Penn State.
“It is overall a testament to all of the hard work of the career professionals at the college and university level at Penn State,” Martin said. “It is a testament to the recruiting of our students. They are marketable professionals, and companies will be attracted to those individuals.”
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