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Career Fair yields jobs for some

Melissa Flanagan | Friday, September 24, 2010

Some senior students spent the past two weeks in a blur of résumés, business suits and follow-up interviews after attending the Fall Career Fair at the Joyce Athletics and Convocation Center on Sept. 8.

Director of the Career Center Lee Svete said the fair brought 138 potential employers to Notre Dame.

“We found that more employers had more jobs and internships this year,” Svete said. “Also, more companies were willing to travel to the event.”

Over 2,000 students ranging from freshmen to seniors attended the event.

“What we’re really seeing in Notre Dame students is that they’re smart, and freshmen and sophomores are coming out,” Svete said. “They’re checking out the career fair, handing out resumes and picking up business cards.”

The early start certainly paid off for senior Vince Montalbano, who attended career fairs both his sophomore and junior years. Montalbano said he received an internship last summer with IT consulting company Accenture after talking to their representative at the fair his junior year.

The internship led to a recent job offer that Montalbano said he is strongly considering. Montalbano said he was most impressed by the quality of companies who attended Notre Dame’s career fairs in the past.

“It’s great to know that top-notch firms are looking to recruit people from Notre Dame,” Montalbano said.

Students secured 1,700 internship through the Career Center last year, and Svete said he hopes more of these internships will lead to job offers like in the case of Montalbano.

“We are seeing, at least in the industries for business and engineering, between 80 and 90 percent of students who did summer internships are getting job offers,” Svete said. “That’s huge, since it means our Notre Dame students are performing at high levels.”

Some students’ internships were so successful that the companies where they interned last summer asked the students to help out as recruiters at the fair earlier this month.

“Employers are realizing that they can utilize students who have experienced the company culture,” Svete said. “It gives other students a feeling of comfort and connection because they see one of their peers.”

According to Svete, 600 interviews took place the day after the career fair.

“Our performance in interviews seemed to be very positive,” Svete said. “We have students who are having second round interviews as early as tomorrow in places such as Chicago and New York.”

However, many companies don’t interview the next day or even within the next few weeks, he said. Job offers could potentially take a while to materialize.

“In certain industries, such as publishing and public relations, that job offer won’t come until later,” Svete said. “Those decisions won’t be made until March.”

Svete said he wants students to know that if they didn’t find success at the career fair that there are still many opportunities for students to make connections with companies. Two upcoming events are the Winter Career Fair and the Post-Graduate Service Fair, which takes place Sept. 29.

Senior Liz Young attended the Fall Career Fair, but said she is more excited for the service fair coming up.

“Considering my interests, I’m much more interested in the Post-Graduate Service Career Fair coming up,” Young said. “But it was definitely good to go and see what it’s like and get practice presenting your professional case to a business.”

In addition to the events on campus, there will be five career fairs over winter break in various cities such as Boston and New York.  Notre Dame shares these fairs with other top-tier schools, such as Vassar and Cornell. Svete said these have been highly effective.

Eighty-two percent of the Class of 2010 graduated from Notre Dame with at least one job offer, Svete said.