Fall Career Expo connects students with visiting potential employers
Selena Ponio | Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Students — from freshmen to seniors — will be donning their nicest suits and blazers Wednesday for the Fall Career Expo.
The event will have a new location this year — Notre Dame Stadium, where students will network with company representatives in the concourse. The fair will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Julie Gray, associate director of career operations at the Career Center, said 242 companies will be present for the event.
“Throughout the entire summer, we’re talking to employers working on logistics, working on set-up,” she said. “We generally start almost at the end of the previous year, so [in] May [we’re] sending out invitations. As soon as we can get a date booked that’s when we start reaching out to employers.”
Gray said the fair acts as a mutual opportunity for both the students and the employers. Students are given the chance to practice important networking skills and employers are given the opportunity to talk more about their brand, she said.
LoriAnn Edinborough, director of employer relations at the Career Center, said 85 companies come back the day after the fair to conduct interviews.
“Every company that’s coming has an intention of recruiting Notre Dame students,” she said. “It’s a very successful tool in the whole recruitment sources.”
Edinborough said the goal of her team is to ensure that employers feel welcome and have everything they need to start recruiting. She said for students, coming to the Career Expo is all about looking to the future. For this reason, the fair is not exclusively for juniors and seniors and she said she would encourage freshmen and sophomores to attend.
“A lot of times freshmen will be unsure of how to approach an employer,” Edinborough said. “They certainly still need to do their research and understand the companies that they’re going to visit. Really, for a freshman, it’s really about reaching out and finding out what they should do in the next couple of years to make them great candidates for that company.”
Associate vice president of career and professional development Ryan Willerton said the process of networking at the Career Fair can be broken down into three stages: meeting with a representative, interviews and a follow-up.
“This is a first-impression, a first-opportunity to learn about companies,” he said. “To gain more insight about their opportunities. So those first seven seconds are critical. That really sets the tone. You want to be memorable, you want a recruiter to recognize your name.”
Gray said aside from the Career Expo, the Career Center offers other resources that could help a student with their career search, such as resume reviews, interview preparation and IrishCompass, a new networking platform that connects students with alumni.
“I think realizing that when you’re looking at your career development, it is not just one task. There are so many other things students can do,” Gray said. “It’s really important to look at that as a whole and not just one task at a time.”
Willerton said for seniors who are worried about getting a job after graduation, it is never too late. He said the trick is not approaching the Career Expo or a pending graduation as a task. Instead, he said, students should concentrate on not just finding a job, but finding a passion.
“This isn’t a transactional ‘go to the Career Fair, find a job, graduate, start in the work world,’” he said. “This is more of a transformation experience and the Career Fair is one piece of the puzzle.
“It’s positioning themselves in roles, in opportunities that could really help them find success, meaning and impact in their lives. That’s the goal.”