Everywhere you looked on Thursday, Bradley students were wearing their best pressed dress clothes carried their freshly-printed resumes. Students anxiously anticipated their interactions with the daunting employers of their dream jobs.
Many students find their potential employers at the job fair for both internship and full-time opportunities. Not only for students, job fairs are also great for employers to meet and talk to their candidates.
This fall’s job fair had over 200 employers present, which made it the largest job fair on campus to date. That would not be possible without all the hard work of career center employees and career advisers. Up against comparable universities, Bradley fares quite well. Similarly sized, Butler University has about 90 employers at their largest fair. Drake University has around 130 employers at their fair.
In preparation for the job fair, the Smith Career Center provided many opportunities for students to get ready for visiting employers, including employer resume critique events, information sessions and drop-in hours. These workshops and clinics are a good way to prepare for what can be a scary experience.
However, there is still room for improvements for future job fairs.
There is difficulty finding employers for all majors. With great engineering programs at Bradley, it seems easy to attract many employers who need engineers. But it can be hard for some students to get excited about the job fair because of a lack of employers for their majors. Having more diverse employers doesn’t only mean more opportunities for all students, but it also reflects Bradley as a well-rounded university with quality programs throughout all colleges and majors.
Developing relationships with companies looking specifically for less popular majors such as liberal arts, social sciences and communications is important.
A different time frame may also benefit students.
The job fair being on a Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. may not be the most ideal for many students. It is not uncommon for students to have classes throughout this entire time period. Many students cannot make it to the job fair at all or have to rush through between classes.
We know employers are likely not willing to extend the time of the job fair because it can be physically tiring to talk to students for over four hours. However, we think moving the time to a period when there are less classes would help students. The fair could potentially be moved to a day with fewer classes like Friday as another alternative.