Students search for job at career fair

Employers at Monday’s Career Fair said the job market is still lagging, but they have more positions to offer graduating seniors now than in years past.

“I’d say the job market is a little bit brighter from last year to this year,” said Karen Snider, a recruiter for TRAK Legal. She added, however, that the job market is still “not where is should be.”

GW’s Career Center confirmed reports indicating an improving job market for graduating students. The Career Center also reported that about 20 to 25 percent of students are enrolling in graduate school after leaving GW, partly because of an adverse job market.

Despite snow forecasts and a fire alarm that emptied the Marvin Center at 5 p.m., about 460 students and alumni attended the Career Fair.

The weather scared off some prospective employers; about 12 companies scheduled to appear did not show up.

To prepare for the fair, the Career Center sends invitations to 2,000 employers that are targeted based on typical “student attendance demographics,” said Jennifer Seile, associate director of the GW Career Center, in an e-mail. About 40 prospective employers attended the event.

Career Center officials also said the 460 students that attended was on the low end; typically 450 to 550 students attend.

Many felt that the weather depressed the turnout.

“Usually there’s like a line of students that want to talk to us,” Snider said.

A Columbian College of Arts and Sciences junior requesting anonymity said he was at the fair looking to replace his current job.

“There’s nothing wrong with my current job,” he said, “but it’s important to get the right fit, you know?”

He also commented that the career fairs tended to be mostly for seniors.

“You said ‘internship’ and they didn’t want to speak to you,” he said.

Most employers are looking for flexibility, work experience and proficiency in the field of study, Seile said.

Some employers experienced normal traffic at their tables. Jeff Dagley, of the U.S. State Department, said the rate of students had been “pretty steady” for the entire four-hour event.

Seile acknowledged that most employers attending the career fair are looking for full-time employees but added that there was still some interest in temporary summer employment and that the Career Center also hosts an internship fair each semester.

“Because networking is so important we always encourage students to take advantage of any opportunity to meet with employers,” Seile said.

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