In the last few months, businesses have made use of work-from-home methods to ensure they continue operations while employees are away from offices. At Auburn’s first career fair this semester, they also reached out to future prospective employees remotely, a new means of student engagement for the University’s Career Center.
The Career Center hosted its Part-Time Career Fair virtually on Aug. 26 through a platform called Career Fair Plus. Each employer had their own schedule and account on the platform, and students had the opportunity to join an employer’s session for 10 minutes to talk with them during the fair. After this, each employer would decide whether or not they want to offer the student an interview.
There were 24 employers who were present at the event. Some employers that came to the fair were East Alabama Medical Center, Initial Outfitters, Synovus, the City of Auburn and Storybook Farm.
“There [are] a lot of things that go into a virtual career fair, so this year was just different,” said Heather Rush, assistant director of employer relations of the Auburn University Career Center. “It was a lot of work – like it has been in the past – but it was a lot of tasks that were new with the online fair. All of the work was mostly completed prior to the event.”
Students were able to sign up for the career fair up to and throughout the event to allow as many to attend as possible. The signup was open a week before the event for students who wanted to receive their schedule for the career fair early. This also gave employers time to review the students’ qualifications — their resumes, grade point averages and majors.
“Considering everything going on right now, it was definitely a good number of students that attended the event,” Rush said. “This is all new, and this was the first career fair of the year, so we expect numbers to get higher and higher throughout the year.”
The part time career fair was free to attend for employers. Rush said that the Career Center really wanted as many employers as possible to show up so that they would support these businesses in finding good candidates for their jobs.
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“This was all new for everybody, so I think this past career fair was a huge success,” Rush said. “Afterwards, we sent out a survey to students and the employers, and all of the feedback we received was very positive.”
Rush expressed how Provost Bill Hardgrave and Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness Norman Godwin were influential in helping acquire the Career Fair Plus platform for Auburn University.
“Without their financial support, we would not have been able to obtain the license for the platform,” Rush said. “As a result of their support we have consistency across the University.”
Rush said that the next event will be run very similarly to this one. She expects that there will be more employers and more students in attendance at the next event as well, since the engineering and technology career fair are next on the docket, which typically bring in large crowds. The event will be held on Sept. 16 and 17 of this year.
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