This year’s Job and Internship Fair, held Thursday and Friday in Paresky, featured expanded options for students interested in government and non-profit work. This was the largest Job and Internship Fair the Career Center has organized in the past years, a change made to accommodate expanded offerings.
“We knew if we wanted to add a greater diversity of employers, we needed more space, so that was the impetus for the two-day fair, and it worked,” Robin Meyer, associate director of the Career Center, said. “We nearly doubled the number of employers who participated this year over last and saw a greater number of non-profit, education and government opportunities.”
Tables were set up in Baxter Hall, allowing students to browse the booths of the more than 50 potential employers that traveled to campus over the course of two days. The employers tabling at the fair on Thursday came from the government and non-profit sectors. Among them were Teach for America, the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Museum and the U.S. State Department. The following day, booths were focused on offerings from the private sector, including JP Morgan and Bain & Company.
According to Meyer, alumni connections aided the Career Center in organizing this year’s fair. “This year, we had over 40 Williams alumni participating as recruiters at the fair, and they are essential to the success of the event,” Meyer said. “It’s often the alumni connection that brings an employer to campus.”
The fair was engineered to serve the needs of students from all class years, whether they were simply looking to network for a future career with one of the groups represented or hoping to find a summer internship.
“What we hope you get out of the fair really depends on where you are in your own career planning cycle, which is a process you will experience many times in your life,” Meyer said. “They are offering real jobs and internships, and it’s not often that you have more than 50 employers coming directly to you.”
The attendance this year was at a record high, with about 620 students attending in comparison to last year’s 300. On the whole, students were excited by the changes made to this year’s fair, particularly the wider range of employers represented this year as opposed to in years past. “Although I couldn’t apply to some organizations on the first day since I’m not a U.S. citizen, I was really impressed with new additions like the THANC Foundation, as well as the alumni connections,” Patrick Lin ’13 said of his experience. “I enjoyed speaking with the alumni.”
The notable increase in government and non-profit options came partially as a result of general student interest in the sector. After last year’s Job and Internship Fair, the Career Center looked at the results of student surveys and focus groups to determine what to include in this year’s event. “We have always known students were interested in more than just banking and consulting,” Career Center Director John Noble said. “We have featured [the government and non-profit sectors] before, but we thought it would be more progressive to separate the two so that students could see that there were opportunities in addition to those in the private sector. Some students were scared away from previous fairs because they didn’t know that there were options for what they wanted to do.”
The Job and Internship Fair is not the only part of the Career Center that is changing: The Career Center moved to Mears last year and is now working on organizational restructuring that includes its two new hires. This year, the Career Center hopes to draw in a wider range of students, particularly underclassmen, through its restructuring. Despite the recent efforts to remodel the Career Center, the staff remains dedicated to continuing to serve the needs of students seeking jobs and connections that may help them to plan their career paths.