Job fair foretells a positive hiring market

If you were one of the 972 plus students who attended the Spring Job and Internship Fair Wednesday, you may have noticed the floor was busier than usual.

That’s because for both student and employer turnout, there were more in attendance than ever before. The last time more than 900 students visited was in 2002. That’s a pretty impressive number, especially since the current senior class is considered small.

And for the employers, there were 132 in attendance. The record prior to that was 147 at the Fall Job & Internship Fair in 2005. But since that fair was hosted in the Student Center Ballroom, some of the employers had to be in a tent outside. Last spring there were only 98 companies represented.

There was even a fairly even distribution of employment opportunities among majors. Business, engineering, communications and nursing, some of our most populated majors, each had about 30 to 40 employer possibilities.

Even if you weren’t at Wednesday’s job fair, that number should be somewhat comforting, as it implies companies will likely be hiring this summer and fall. It’s exciting to see both employer and attendance numbers rise. It provides hope that the economy is turning around and, to graduating students, that means everything.

Students across the country spend thousands of dollars racking up student loan debts. It’s a devastating blow to morale when those who have worked to get a degree can’t get hired or can only find minimum-wage work.

That’s why the atmosphere in the arena Wednesday was so refreshing; employers not only showed up, they were actively recruiting. And whether you’re a freshman or a senior, that’s a very reassuring sign.

A successful job fair something that more than just upperclassmen  should be interested in.

It’s easy to walk around the job fair and find plenty of juniors and seniors, but it’s an event that freshmen and sophomores should make a priority. From orientation to graduation, students are constantly told that experience is key, along with making connections.

Students should be thankful for the hard-working staff at the Smith Career Center, not only for organizing the fair, but for inviting more than 4,000 employers to the event.

The center participates in active outreach with companies in major metropolitan areas as well as with alumni and employers who have registered with the job fair in previous years. And the center doesn’t just shoot an email to potential employers, but they send mailing cards, multiple emails, faxes, make phone calls and even personal visits to certain companies to bring them to Bradley. That’s a lot of work that goes unnoticed.

With events such as the job fair, students are provided with the resources they need to be successful in a professional setting. It’s a valuable opportunity that many students don’t take advantage of until they’re months away from graduation.

There’s more to college than classes, and the job fair is an event that is well worth the time and preparation it takes to simply arrive and network.