After a few challenging years, there is good news out in the job market for fresh college graduates. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2015 Job Outlook report, employers plan to hire 8.3% more college graduates for their U.S. operations than the previous year. We have seen this ourselves at Mason. For the first time since fall 2008, the Fall Career Fair filled up early with a wait list and the registration for the Spring Career Fair is already moving ahead.
The Spring Career Fair will bring over 180 employers to campus on February 18 and 19. A range of national, regional, and local employers are expected to attend, including Aerospace Corporation, Boeing, Discovery Communications, Gannett, Gallup, Target, Teach for America, and many different government agencies and non-profits from around the DC metro area.
The focus of the first day of the Career Fair is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and the second day is Business, Public Service and Non-Profit, many employers are hiring for a range of positions. It is important for students to attend both days. For example, in the past, ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 was not only looking for writers and reporters, but also web editors, meteorologists, and account executives. Amazon was seeking software engineers as well as account executives, sales, and support staff. The FBI was recruiting for accountants, contract, and security specialists.
All students, from freshmen to seniors (and recent graduates) are encouraged to attend the fair. Attendees can expect to be exposed to various career options and learn about the hiring needs of employers in their industry of interest. Many employers use the fair to promote their online application tools whereas some take resumes at the fair. A few employers may even do screening interviews at the fair.
Employers are interested in students with different majors but are also focused on the “soft skills” that potential employees need to be successful in the workforce. For example, a 2010 study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that employers highly rated skills such as effective communication, team work, research skills and the ability of students to take on responsibility. So, how can you help your student evaluate themselves before meeting employers? Here are our top tips for parents and families:
- Have your student attend a preparation event before the Career Fair to practice speaking with employers, and have their resume reviewed. View our events calendar here: http://careers.gmu.edu/events/
- Encourage your student to come to the Career Fair professionally dressed to make a strong first impression. Your student can find out more information on professional dress here: http://careers.gmu.edu/students/events/fairs/
- Ask your student to pick out 6 to 8 companies before the fair and research their web sites. Employers do not like being asked at the fair what they do as they expect students to know that already. The list of participating employers will be available a few weeks before the fair and can be accessed within your student’s HireMason account at http://careers.gmu.edu/
We are here to prepare and connect career-ready students for post-graduate success. Make sure your student is making the most of this excellent Mason resource by using University Career Services early and often!
Career Fair Manager
University Career Services