If the employer turnout at Tuesday’s career fair in White Plaza is any indication of the health of the job market, soon-to-be Stanford graduates could take a little heart. The annual fair, hosted by the Career Development Center (CDC), featured 268 employers, a slight improvement over the 215 employers who attended last year.
The recession had a significant impact on the number of employers who attend the fairs, said CDC Director Lance Choy. Prior to the recession, Stanford had 300 employers attending in addition to a waitlist, he said.
The career fair on Tuesday offered numerous full-time employment and internship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. Companies there included Apple Inc., Morgan Stanley, the FBI and Abercrombie & Fitch. Many had several positions to advertise.
“We think the economy is improving and expect to hire new college graduates next summer…we have as many as 10 open positions,” said Kathy Englar, a representative for IntApp, a software company in Palo Alto. The Stanford career fair has played an important role in employment for IntApp, Englar said — more than 50 percent of the company’s employees are Stanford graduates.
While companies like IntApp are specifically recruiting engineering and computer science majors, other companies do not have specific majors as criteria for employment. Jacquelyn Dulis, the district manager for the Social Security Administration, said she was looking to recruit a service representative and a claims representative. Although she was mainly looking for graduate students, she said an interest in public service was the only factor candidates needed. Like Englar, Dulis said she believes that the economy is improving.
“For us, we’re hiring more this year than we’ve been able to in the last few years,” Dulis said. “As a result of the president’s encouragement of employment, the federal government is looking to put people to work.”
Most undergraduates who attended the career fair were seeking internships.
“I’m looking to find an internship for the summer,” said Sam Beder ’13. “There are a wide range of employers here, from business to investment banking opportunities. I feel like the career fair is a great way for undergrads to pitch to businesses, especially the big people who mostly aren’t interested in undergrads.”
Despite the number of employers who attend career fairs, the fairs are but one of many ways to find employment, Choy said. According to CDC-conducted surveys, 9 to 14 percent of students with bachelor’s degrees find jobs through career fairs, as do 12 to 18 percent of students with master’s degrees. That doesn’t include students who find internships, Choy said.
“Only a small fraction of employers participate in career fairs, which can be seen as extremely time consuming,” he added. “Students should make an appointment with career counselors to help them develop strategies to find employment.”