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Internship and Job Fair leads to interviews and expands networks

March 19, 2011
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The Career Center welcomed a record number of students and alumni at its spring Internship and Job Fair, held in the Field House on March 2.  Representatives in search of their next employees and interns came from 40 private companies, federal agencies, schools, and nonprofits, including the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of State, the Maryland School for the Deaf, the National Institutes of Health, the Buckeye Ranch camp, and Z Video Relay Service. While the fair typically draws 300 to 350 participants, this round brought more than 400.

“It was a great way to network,” wrote one student in an evaluation. “I learned a lot about jobs I might not have learned of otherwise,” commented another.

Several students immediately landed interviews with employers, including the Buckeye Ranch, which interviewed 41 students in the days following the fair.

“We have all seen news of the government hiring freeze and shrinking recruitment budgets, but the fact is that agencies and companies continue to contact us about visiting campus. The fair has grown, even in this economy,” said Career Center Employer Relations Specialist Monica Garvin. In spring 2010, the biannual fair expanded from the Multipurpose Room in the Jordan Student Academic Center to the main gym of the Field House. The new venue allows for more employer booths and provides more space for participants and interpreters to circulate.

Between spring and fall fairs, employers often give information sessions on campus. The Career Center also invites company representatives to present at special events, like the “Passport to Your Future” panel held in February, when employers, faculty, and staff helped students to hone their resumes and networking skills. Students met with representatives from Volkswagen, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In the March 1 event “Employers’ Dialogue and Developing a Game Plan for the Fair,” employers again came to campus to help students prepare for the job search.

Results are not always instantaneous, allows Career Center Interim Director Karen Cook, but each of these events sends out reverberations. As a result of the fall 2010 fair, the Volkswagen Group of America recently offered summer internships to two Gallaudet students.

Cook looks forward to seeing more effects like this and adding more innovations in the future. One new initiative is to reach out to faculty.

“I am happy to report that we saw greater numbers of faculty at this fair than ever before, and saw several faculty meeting with students, as well as with employers, to see where they could help to make connections for student internships,” said Cook.  “I think the more we in the Career Center work together and partner with faculty, staff, and a growing number of employer partners, the better the results will be for our students.”

The Career Center staff is already preparing for the fall Internship and Job Fair in October. During the remainder of the spring semester and into next fall, the Career Center will continue to host events, including mock interviews with employers on campus on the last Tuesday of each month. Students will also have a chance to meet employers where they operate with two site visits in April: one to Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., and another to the U.S. Secret Service in D.C. Events are open to all students, although career consultants are especially focusing on seniors at this time of year, providing more opportunities for networking, and polishing up resumes and interview skills as graduation approaches.

–Rhea Yablon Kennedy

19 March 2011

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