Hundreds of students invaded the Quad Wednesday under a sky of white tents. It was all part of Cal State Fullerton’s annual Internship and Job Fair, hosted by the Career Center, bringing in over 200 employers.
“The event, from our point of view, was extraordinarily effective,” said Jim Case, director of the center.
This year, 234 employers, 30 percent more than last year, attended the fair to talk to students about possible internship and permanent job positions.
Case credited this year’s success and employer turnout to three factors. First, Career Center and University investment into a sophisticated and state of the art technology that helps maintain a strong connection with employers and students. Second, he credited Karen Kerr, associate director for employee relations in the center, who has committed to an aggressive outreach to contact employers face-to-face. Lastly, Case said the fact that Fullerton is in Orange County, which has one of the lowest employment rates in the country, also helped.
“I’d like to think of it as a perfect score and a benefit to students,” said Janel Grimm.
Grimm, a representative from State Farm Insurance Company, has participated in previous CSUF job fairs and said it’s a great opportunity for students. “It’s a great way to test-drive the career,” she said.
Earlier last week, the Career Center provided a preparation session in the TSU Pavilion, where students could listen to a panel of employers give tips on how to prepare for the Internship and Job Fair. Case said the session is provided every year and approximately 80 students attend. This year, 150 students came out for the session, Case said. He mentioned that about 500 students have come in and out of the Career Center this semester using the online system and getting information on employers.
“The students have been very active,” he said.
Marc Trujillo, a senior English major, said he talked to several employers, hoping to open up opportunities for a full-time job after graduation next month.
“What I like about the job fair is that you get to talk to a lot of different people from a lot of different industries,” he said.
To prepare for the job fair, Trujillo said he did some research on the companies that were scheduled to attend, and customized his resume for the different industries.
With slightly less preparation, senior marketing major Lucy Hoang decided to attend the job fair that same morning.
“I’m pretty surprised how many people are out here,” she said. Hoang and a friend said they noticed many of the employers present were geared more towards the business field. “Its good for me, but I feel bad for people in other majors,” Hoang said.
However, Case explained that the employers there were not targeting a specific major with their selection process, but added that “the reality of the market place” is that 80 percent of jobs in the economy are in business.
“The job that you go into isn’t always the same as the major that you focus on,” Case said.
Despite the fact that half the students were in business attire and the other half just walked out of class and stopped by a booth, Grimm said they did not take appearances into consideration when talking to students about future careers.
“It’s not so much their appearance as their presence,” Grimm said. “If they walk up confident, strong and speak well, it doesn’t matter if they’re wearing flip-flops and a tank top.”
He also took the opportunity to again stress the importance of adequate planning.
“If a student is prepared, they will stand out,” he said. “But it would definitely be to their advantage if they did their homework and knew something about the event beforehand.”
Besides adding to the list of employers this year, Grimm wanted to make this year’s job fair run a little more smoothly, ordering more tents to block the sun or rain for employers, providing buses for employers to take them back and forth from the parking lots and making sure the right food was offered for their lunch.
“We try to take real good care of the employers,” he said.
Grimm’s plan seemed to work for Anaheim Hills Target Store Manager, Brian Cameron. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” he said of the fair. Cameron said he was surprised at how prepared students were and how they were asking all the right questions. He said Target filled up six pages worth of interviews for this week, and had to simply just take names with nearly an hour left of the job fair.
“It’s always a good turnout,” Grimm said. “If I only did one [job fair] in Orange County, it would be Fullerton.”
“The bottom line is: Cal State Fullerton as an institution, and the students who come here are exceptionally talented and attractive to employers,” Case said.