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Students network at rescheduled Career Fair

Amanda Gray | Friday, March 4, 2011

Even though the snowstorm that hit campus Feb. 2 caused many headaches and forced the Winter Career Fair to be cancelled, the Career Center’s rescheduled Career Fair was a success, said Kevin Monahan, associate director of the Career Center, said.

“Students have been very supportive as they realized the crippling effects the weather would have had on the Career Fair and the safety issues involved if we pushed forward and tried to host the event in February,” he said.

The Fair was postponed for more than a month until Thursday, when it ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Joyce Center Heritage Hall. The Diversity Reception ran from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Monogram Room.

Monahan said it was the first time in his 10 years with the Career Center that a career fair had been postponed.

“As early as Monday of that week, we had received news of thousands of flight cancellations and anticipated shutdowns of major highways. Postponing the fair was the right decision as the well being of students, staff, and employers was our top concern,” he said. “Within 24 hours, we had already rebooked the Joyce Center and started communicating details to companies and students about the new date.”

With the extra time the Career Center was able to keep the majority of the original firms set to attend, while bringing in a few more companies, including Land’s End, Chrysler and Frito-Lay, Monahan said. 104 firms were in attendance Friday, and firms also adjusted on-campus interview schedules during February and March.

“Some firms kept their original on-campus interview dates while others pushed back until after the fair,” he said. “Overall, spring on-campus recruiting is up about 25 percent from last year.”

Junior Rachel Chalich said she has been to every Career Fair while attending Notre Dame, except while she was abroad last semester.

“I think that there were just as many students at the fair today as there have been in past years,” she said. “It seemed like there were fewer employers, but the event was logistically set up differently, so it is really hard to be certain.”

Chalich said her biggest worry about the Career Fair being pushed back was the availability of positions. 

“Of those in attendance, I am curious as to how many actually had jobs and internships available or if those positions had already been filled,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to be unaffected by the change in date. My recruiters still kept on the same schedule; they just didn’t have the Career Fair as a resource.”

Monahan said this is not the first time the Career Center has held an employer fair in March. As of 10 years ago, the Career Center hosted a career fair in January and a separate internship fair in March.

“Taking feedback from students and employers, we decided to move to one fair during the spring semester,” Monahan said.

He said the Career Center estimates between 1,000 and 1,200 students attended, which is typical for on-campus career fairs.

“I anticipate more first years and sophomores attending than in the past in order to get a head start on their career search efforts,” he said.

Chalich said she began using the Career Fair as a freshman.

“I think we’re spoiled by the work they do, and then you talk to friends who go to other schools where the ‘Career Center’ is one person behind a desk,” she said. “The staff at the Career Center know the industries, they know the employers, and they know the steps needed to get you where you want to be.”