Career searches launch at OCC job fair

The job search has begun for the Class of 2011. So far, more than 400 seniors have attended the Office of Career Counseling’s (OCC) Senior Starter workshops. While numbers are still unavailable for the Class of 2011, members of the Class of 2010 made 1,272 counseling visits to the OCC last academic year. In total, 70 percent of the Class of 2010 visited the OCC during their senior year; comparable or higher figures are expected for the Class of 2011.

Last year, 50 percent of the Class of 2010 had found jobs by graduation, whereas 32 percent were still searching. Of those employed, the three largest sectors of employment were education (19.1 percent), healthcare (14.7 percent) and finance (10.8 percent).

On Friday, more than 300 students and 31 employers filled Baxter Hall for the OCC’s fifth biannual job fair. The date of the job fair was moved forward this year to give students and employers a “good start,” said John Noble, director of the OCC. Noble said students were more “energized about the job search process,” and employers were able to “make a name for themselves on campus early on in the year.”
Friday’s job fair is the first of two annual fairs held by the OCC: one fair in the fall, the other in April. Due to the nature of recruiting seasons, the fall fair typically attracts more employers from the private sector and teaching opportunities that recruit large classes. The spring fair will include more non-profits and companies with job openings occurring later in the academic year.

“The fair [gives] students an opportunity to sample a variety of real job and internship possibilities offered by our recruiters,” said John Noble, director of the OCC. “While the majority of employers at the fair have real job opportunities to discuss, it’s also a chance for students to ask general questions about the different career paths represented.”

Students expressed a variety of opinions on the fair. Kyle Victor ’11, a political economy major who visited only one employer at the fair, said that he “felt a little out of place, because I don’t really want to work for those consulting companies.

“I’m hoping to go to grad schools, so I’m not looking too hard right now,” Victor said. “I’m going to wait and see what pans out.”

For someone looking for jobs in business, however, the fair presented an opportunity to meet well-known firms and companies not even listed on the OCC’s Route 2 network, said Rokimi Khawlhring ’11.

Tommy Hester ’11, also looking for jobs in consulting and finance, concurred.

“I don’t know how many students get jobs from talking to alums who graduated two years ago, but it was good to start meeting people and learning about opportunities now,” he said.

Nonetheless, Khawlhring remains uncertain about her job prospects. “As an international student, it’s more difficult for us … it costs firms more money to sponsor internationals,” she said.

However, “being a Williams student gives us an immense leg up. We have more connections, more on-campus recruiting. It’s nice to see firms with a tradition of recruiting from Williams,” she said.

Noble also remains optimistic about job prospects.
“We do an aggressive marketing campaign to attract those employers we think would appeal to our students,” said Noble. “Even in a tight job market, Williams will attract recruiters; after all, most will have some kind of openings, and they’ll want to go to the best schools to fill them.”

In fact, as Noble said, the OCC turned away some employers at the job fair due to lack of space. He said most of these employers will return at another point this fall.
For students who might have missed the job fair, the OCC will hold an additional open house in October to further encourage students to visit for career counseling.