University of Nebraska–Lincoln students have the opportunity for quality one-on-one interactions with a record-high number of employers at career fairs this fall.
“Employer turnout this year was at a record high since we’ve moved our fairs back on campus,” said Tracy Lungrin, director of career services. “We’ve completely filled three fairs and are close to filling the rest. Our STEM fair also sold out in record time. It’s exciting to know that both our employers and our students still value face-to-face interaction.”
After two years of accommodating COVID-19 regulations and virtual fairs, this year career services was able to dedicate more time to developing new resources for students, such as a help desk where students will be able to get assistance identifying employers of interest, practice introductions and print resumes. With so many employers, students will have even more opportunities to build connections with employers that can lead to internships, jobs and even lifelong careers.
“With more employers students have a little bit more control and ownership over what choices they’re making,” said Allison Hatch, director of workforce development for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and a university alumnus. “There are more opportunities and more choices for employers or jobs, and being able to have all of this presented and kind of one space during this career fair. I think is fantastic for job seekers, internship seekers and students who are just exploring careers”
Huskers can connect with employers at the upcoming Career + Internship Fairs Sept. 20-22 and Sept. 28.
Each day focuses on different industry sectors, and will host different employers.
University Career + Internship Fairs
All fairs are noon to 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Union
- Management, Human Resources, Marketing and Sales
- Arts, Entertainment, Media and Design
- Government, Policy, Public Administration and Law
- Human Services and Non-profit
- Architecture, Engineering and Construction
- Science, Research and Development
- Health and Wellness
- Computing, Software, and Data Analytics
- Economics, Banking and Finance
- Food and Agriculture
- Environment and Natural Resources
“My anecdotal experience is that students who participate in career fairs are more likely to find jobs and internships, but also are more likely to feel confident about interacting with businesses and employers in the future,” Hatch said. “It’s really great practice and competence can go a long way. You know, just like putting yourself out there and having a kind of an elevator pitch about yourself.”
One of those students is Malayna Winger, a senior biological systems engineering major from Sterling.
“I made a connection with a company at the fall 2021 career fair that led to my summer internship,” Wingert said.
Wingert recently completed her summer hydraulic modeling internship with HDR after meeting representatives at the fall career fair. Wingert said that her connection with them not only helped her get the internship, but also helped her get acclimated with the company before her internship started.
“If I hadn’t met with the company before, I might have still got the job, but I don’t think that I would have been able to make the connections that I made,” she said. “Because I went to the career fair and reached out after, I got to tour their office, talk to the leader of the group that I was in and things like that.”
Wingert said she recommends attending the career fairs as it’s a great starting point for reaching out to companies and a way to meet many employers in one place. At the career fair, Wingert made a personal connection with the HDR recruiter by asking questions about the company, sharing her experiences and sharing her resume.
She advises students to look up the companies beforehand and write out detailed questions for them, in addition to preparing their resumes.
Kelsey Cox, recruiting coordinator at Olsson, also highlighted the importance of asking company-specific questions.
“I really appreciate it when students come with a couple of specific questions like ‘Hey, I saw this project on your website, can you talk more about it,’ or just something that shows me that they did some research before their career fair and that they’re not just showing up unprepared,” she said.
As a recruiter, Cox said career fairs are huge because it allows for personal interactions, rather than just an application. If a student has what a company is looking for, the company can then reach out to them, even if they haven’t applied for a certain position.
“I’d encourage everyone from freshmen to seniors to come to the career fair and just meet people and get to know the different companies,” she said. “It’s nice to meet someone face to face and be able to talk about Olsson and what we do and the opportunities that we offer. Then we can also hear about the student and what they’re looking for which gives us a really good, warm introduction to them.”
Olsson was one of the top companies to hire NU students from 2016-2021, according to the results of surveys conducted by career services. Olsson is one of the employers who is eager to hire university students at the fall career fairs.
“We’re definitely hiring for internships and full-time positions at this time,” she said. “Our company didn’t see a slowdown during the pandemic and we expect a steady continuation of the number of positions we’re looking to fill, if not an increase, because we’re hoping to expand.”
According to career services, internships are meant to help students integrate knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development, all while helping employers invest in their own future success and grow their talent pipelines.
“There’s a lot of data out there about students who have internships being converted to full time employees,” Hatch said.
Employer-student connections, internships and full-time jobs are all components of workforce development.
“Workforce development is creating and developing opportunities for individuals to advance in their career, and oftentimes that’s through showing them or connecting them with employers who have available jobs,” Hatch said. “Career fairs can play a number of different roles in workforce development. They can provide awesome career exploration opportunities and familiarize students with the opportunities that are out there.”
Students can learn more about career fair preparation, resumes and cover letters, what to wear and which employers will be available by visiting the Career Services website and following @unlcareers on social media.