September 10, 2008

Students Consider Opportunities at Career Fair

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Though the weather was dismal and the economy is in a recession, Cornell students from across the University put on their best smiles and donned their best clothes as they met with companies from all over at the world at the Career Fair in Barton Hall yesterday. The two-day event will conclude today with an event devoted to technical and engineering professions.
Jennifer DeRosa, assistant director of Employer Relations for Cornell, said that while the number of companies attending the technical engineering fair increased from last year, the general interest career fair is “down a little, but not a significant[ly].”
DeRosa said that this was the result of “fluctuations” dependant on the nation’s economic condition. While there will be more companies looking to fill technical positions, DeRosa said that the turnout of students will be less today than yesterday.
“The variety of employers that come for the general interest fair attracts a larger base of students,” DeRosa said. “The engineering and technical jobs are more specific and are geared to a smaller number of students.”
From the Peace Corps to Prudential Insurance, the fair hosted a wide variety of employers. These organizations attend Cornell’s Career Fair to provide Cornell students information about entry-level jobs, co-op opportunities and internships.
Among the many employment scouts at the fair was Greg McClure from Raytheon Company. McClure’s daughter is a Cornell graduate, so he has been to the annual University Career Fair for many years. [img_assist|nid=31559|title=Just schmoozing|desc=Zalex Miglis ’10 speaks with company representatives from Applied Value at the Cornell Career Fair yesterday afternoon in Barton Hall.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“It’s been very busy,” McClure said, discussing this year’s success. “Our main objective is to gauge the interests of the students and see if they match with the needs of our company.”
While there were some sophomores and juniors present to learn about internship opportunities, many companies were gearing their recruitment effort towards Cornell’s seniors.
“We’re not offering any internship programs this year,” Jordan Vance of Dean Ventures Investment Management said. “We’re looking to grow our business and find smart people to fill full-time positions.”
As Cornell students take their first steps in preparing for life after college, many reported that they learned a great deal just from the Career Fair.
“It was pretty overwhelming at first,” Daniel Kubis ’09 said, as he searched for his next company of inquiry. When asked if he thought he made a good impression, Kubis replied, “For the first company, not as much. But as I got more familiar with the process, I think so.”
While this was not Nick Tripoli’s ’09 first career fair, he was surprised to see the differences from previous years.
“The importance of the résumé drop and meeting with employers face-to-face has diminished,” Tripoli said. “It’s all done online now and the people here may not even be the same people reviewing your résumé.”
The Career Fair seemed to be a learning experience for students and the visiting employers. Rebecca Sparrow, director of Cornell Career Services, estimated that the amount of employers yesterday was “in the high nineties.”
As the economy continues to fluctuate — Lehman Brothers, which was present at the fair, reported a 44 percent stock loss yesterday, according to the New York Times — Cornell seniors are praying that they will find a suitable match for their interests.