George Mason University


News at Mason

Patriots make professional strides at the Spring Career Fair

February 26, 2020   /   by Hannah Harmison

For George Mason University alumna Di Chen, MS Data Analytics Engineering ’19, the Spring Career Fair was familiar territory. Chen, who got her job last year at the fair, returned to represent her employer Software AG. She said she was happy to help pass on the success she had at last year’s event.

“I found my job at this career fair,” she said. “I graduated last year from Mason, and [Software AG] hired me. They found many good candidates from here, like myself and several of my coworkers.”

More than 1,000 students visited the Spring Career Fair on Feb. 19 and 20 in the Johnson Center, hosted by Mason’s University Career Services. Students met with representatives from 269 different employers from industries such as early childhood education, bioengineering, and law enforcement.

“I’m looking for a full-time job, and I’m hoping to get something going today,” said senior Jesse McCandlish, a computer science major. “It’s a little bit overwhelming, but all of the employers have been wonderful to talk to—all very honest. It feels like we’re having genuine conversations. It’s been wonderful.”

McCandlish said she was thrilled to see so many employers looking to fill internships, co-ops, and part-time and full-time jobs.

“Career fairs are designed to give students the opportunity to explore career opportunities,” said Saskia Campbell, executive director of University Career Services. “It is the highlight of the semester for the Career Services team to watch thousands of career connections being made. The energy at the event is awesome.”

Campbell explained that success at a career fair can take many forms. It isn’t just finding a full-time job, she said. It’s also about gaining confidence in your skills, receiving positive feedback from employers, learning about new opportunities, getting career advice, networking with alumni and hiring managers, and securing an interview or internship that may lead to a career.

“Students should come to the fair just to get experience talking to employers—it makes it easier to get through the interview process,” said senior Alice Peters, a bioengineering major. “I definitely recommend coming as a freshman; it prepares you for the future.”

In some cases, the fair prepared students for the next week, when many met with employers for follow-up interviews. Campbell said she hopes those students who get jobs through the fair will return next year with their employers as alumni champions to help more Mason students pursue their goals.

As for this year’s event, computer science major Bruno Menezes said he skipped a similar event at the university he attends and drove more than an hour to be at Mason.

“Mason’s fair is so much better,” he said. “More employers, more opportunities. Absolutely worth the drive.”