Molly Feser, a senior majoring in communication at George Mason University, knows she wants to work at Booz Allen Hamilton after she graduates, so she made sure to be at Mason’s Career Fair the day the information technology consulting firm would be present.
“I spoke to them about being a writing consultant, and they were really helpful and informative,” Feser said. “A representative looked at my resume right then and there and told me how my experience would be relevant for their company.”
That is just the kind of story Saskia Clay-Rooks likes to hear. The executive director of Mason’s University Career Services said the fair is an event that opens doors and provides access and networking opportunities for Mason students.
“Instead of looking online [and] applying through a web portal into a black hole, you’re actually able to make a personal connection with an organization [and] talk to people who are working there,” she said.
Two hundred companies and organizations attended this year’s fair. It was held Oct. 3-4 in Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus. Almost 3,600 students and alumni showed up.
A number of employers returned to campus the next week for follow-up interviews with students they met at the fair.
Tony Guzman, director of university partnerships at the technology talent development company Revature, said his company regularly hires Mason students. The company also partners with the university to provide students with free hands-on technology training that will prepare them to fill critical gaps in the Northern Virginia workforce.
“We always look from all majors for people to come in and want to become software engineers,” Guzman said. “We give them onboard training for three or four months upon joining us, and then we get them placed with our clients.”
Audrey Tremblay, a human resources specialist with Canon Virginia, said it was her company’s first time at the Career Fair.
“We’re looking for new disciplines in engineering,” she said, “so we really wanted to focus on that group here [at Mason], and really diversify our candidates.”
Clay-Rooks said it is not unusual for Mason students who gained jobs through the Career Fair to return as recruiters for their companies, or, as Clay-Rooks called them, “alumni champions.”
For Feser, evaluating the Career Fair was simple.
“It was extremely organized,” she said. “It was definitely worth it to go.”
Lydia Antonio-Vila contributed to this report.