By Haydn Elmore | September 12, 2022
A flier for the Industry-Based Job & Internship Fairs being held at UAlbany with the dates and locations attached to it.
Photo Credit: Haydn Elmore
The Career Service Department at UAlbany has changed its approaches to hosting job fairs, by having three smaller and more targeted based events instead of one big event each semester. It’s a change that was inspired in the wake of the pandemic, and while they have doubts that things will go back to the pre-pandemic area of job fairs, they are happy with this new change and will continue to improve if they need to.
“When we originally approached job fairs, we would have one big fair every semester,” Noah Simon, head of the Career Services department at UAlbany, said in a recent interview. “We had roughly 150-200 employers at the fair, and it was held at the SEFCU Arena.”
Once COVID-19 emerged, it caused Career Services to rethink everything and how they want to move forward with job fairs.
They transferred virtually for a smaller-scale job fair at the beginning of COVID-19, but they soon realized that it wasn’t working. Not only because the turnout of students and employers was lacking in numbers, but also because there was a lack of in-person connection between the employers and students.
The career department eventually went to a more small-scale approach for hosting job fairs when it came back to being in person. Instead of having one big fair each semester, UAlbany offers three different fairs throughout the semester. They include a business fair, a teach and science fair, and educational nonprofit law and government fair. All are being held in the UAlbany Ballroom.
“The SEFCU Arena is a very nice place back when we first had these fairs,” said Simon. “But we found that having the fairs in the ballroom has improved the attendance for students, as it is easy to access for them to get there and know where everything is.”
Simon added that having three different fairs has not only increased the number of students attending but also shows a greater diversity of interests in students going to these fairs.
“When we had the one big fair, a lot of students went like, I don’t want to go to that fair, because of their perceptions that career fairs were for only those who were majoring in business. Which wasn’t the case, because we had a variety of options that offer more than just business,” said Simon. “Now, with it being industry-based, students can see an industry-based fair like the government fair and want to go to them, because they offer options that are targeted to those who might major in political science, and they can meet with an employer in that field.”
The three fairs provide 150 to 200 employers distributed amongst all three fairs because the ballroom can only hold approximately 50 employers at a time. Simon pointed out that students were able to get through to multiple employers. This is thanks to the tools career services provided for students to get prepared for the fair – like setting up their resumes and getting connected with employers before potentially meeting them at the fair. They can easily be accessed by visiting the Career Services department down by the Science Library.
“I’m happy we went through this change,” said Simon. “COVID had to make us rethink everything, and how we wanted to approach career fairs going forward. It wasn’t an easy change, and it’s a change we will continue to make adjustments if necessary, but it’s a change I’m happy to say has really helped us as a department, the employers, and the students attending these fairs.”
The industry-based job fairs will be held on Sept. 4, 21, and 28 at the Ballroom area at UAlbany from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. The Career Services department is located in the Science Library for any assistance to get students set up and be ready to talk and meet an employer at these fairs.