The New Balance Student Recreation Center was bustling Wednesday, Jan. 30, for the 15th annual Career Fair. Students of all ages and majors attended with the hope to find a job or internship opportunity.
The basketball court was an unfamiliar sight with over 900 students funneling in and out of the Recreation Center for the career fair alone. The Career Fair held here at UMaine is the largest job fair in the state of Maine and serves as a huge resource for students every year.
With 117 organizations and companies represented for students to talk to, job search resources were plentiful. This year’s Career Fair had a 27 percent increase in employer participation, compared to the 90 who were involved in the 2012 Career Fair.
The Career Fair served as a diverse place for students to scope out the job market. There were businesses representing nearly every sector of employment, including business and industry, engineering, state and federal government, healthcare, education, summer camps, military, human resources, forestry services and non-profit organizations.
Samantha Wood, a fourth-year finance student, said she attended the fair to “gather as much information as possible, network and distribute my resume.”
Wood was a lucky career fair attendee, as she landed two interviews for the following day. “I’ve never done an interview,” Wood said, admitting she would have to practice. “I’m pretty pumped.… Pretty nervous too.”
Many seniors experienced the same anxiety as the May graduation approaches. The uneasy feelings accompanying the thought of life after college are not exactly settled at a job fair.
Michael Orr, a third-year civil engineering student, admitted that he too was nervous, even though he isn’t graduating this year.
Orr reported that he was looking to find his first opportunity to apply his studies in the workforce.
“I’ve only worked at a country club before,” he said.
Although he still has another year to go, the pressure was still on to find an internship.
With a crowd of mostly graduating seniors, the tallied results from those who signed in showed that there were a variety of students at the fair.
Patty Counihan, director of the Career Center, reported in an email that there were a total of 915 attendees: 95 first-year students, 109 sophomores, 173 juniors, 328 seniors, 61 graduate students, 29 alumni, 20 non students and roughly 100 people who did not sign in.
Lucky for students, most employers were looking to fill jobs. Counihan reported 64 percent of employer participants were looking to fill full-time positions, 49 percent looking to fill internships or seasonal, summer positions and other participants came to meet students and collect resumes to fill future openings.
Scott Burian, a fourth-year business and communication student, reported a positive response from employers at the Career Fair. Burian personally felt it was the most satisfying Career Fair he had attended.
Burian admitted he prepared a pitch about himself, which he believed helped him talk to business representatives.
“I also circled all the places on the map,” Burian said about the businesses he planned to visit. “It’s a large facility, and it’s easy to get lost.”
Counihan reported in her email, “[T]his is the first year that the School of Forest Resources has teamed up with the Career Center to offer a combined Forest Resources Job Fair and Career Fair. The Forestry Job Fair has 21 employer participants.
“Last year’s Career Fair had 898 students attend, so we increased the number of students [who attended] this year,” Counihan wrote.
“While 69 percent of the employers were Maine-based, we also have employers headquartered in 9 other states and Washington, D.C. Other states represented include California, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” Counihan said.
This range provides the students the ability to explore their options, whether they choose to stayhere in Maine or live outside the state.
Counihan also reported that 45 percent of the employer participants at the Career Fair were UMaine alumni of the University of Maine, showing the strong bond between the university and its former students.