On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the University of Maine hosted its 21st annual Engineering Job Fair, a daylong event co-sponsored by the Career Center and department of engineering that provides engineering students with the opportunity to meet representatives from local and regional companies and to network for professional opportunities that may help them get job offers upon graduation.
Held on the first floor of UMaine’s New Balance Recreation Center, the Engineering Job Fair attracted a mixture of 168 different engineering companies, firms and federal agencies, which was the largest number in its 21 years. Of these organizations, most were based either within the state of Maine or elsewhere in the New England region, and nearly all expressed their interest and intention to hire qualified UMaine students for internships during the summer of 2020.
“Over the last 20 years, the annual Engineering Job Fair has grown from just a handful of companies to a record 168 companies this year,” dean of the college of engineering, Dana Humphrey, told the Maine Campus. “This reflects the growing demand for engineers and the outstanding reputation of our graduates. In Maine and across the country there are more engineering jobs that there are graduates. As a result, the most recent survey showed 99.9% placement in either a full-time job or graduate school for UMaine engineering students.”
Though the fair is intended for students nearing graduation, all who were interested were encouraged to attend and the fair ultimately attracted more than 1,000 students. One of the many first-year students to attend, Toby Garvis, a mechanical engineering student, said he was surprised by the fair’s turnout.
“The chance to meet representatives from companies I have known and followed for my entire life,” Garvis said was “pretty awesome.”
Alden Burns, a second-year civil engineering student and the vice president of UMaine’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, told the Maine Campus that the event seemed to be busier than it was last year, and that attending provides a great opportunity for students of every year-level.
“The Job Fair is important because it exposes students to a professional environment and allows them to improve their professional communication,” Burns said. “It is one of the few chances they will have to interact with engineering and business professionals in a formal setting.”
More than 80 of the recruiters tasked with advertising for their companies at the fair were UMaine alumni. One such recruiter, Sergeant First Class Kyle Patterson of the Maine Army National Guard, said that he enjoyed the opportunity to share his knowledge and information with students, which will help educate them on the types of career paths and options that exist after graduation.
Another of the fair’s returning alumni, former UMaine civil engineering student and 2014 graduate Alex Young, is now a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Coordinator with the Boston-based Turner Construction Company. Though currently working on the expansion project of Portland’s Maine Medical Center, Young personally requested an opportunity to recruit at UMaine’s Engineering Job Fair and said that the chance to do so was, for him, especially meaningful.
While organizing the fair, UMaine’s Career Center distributed information on the many represented companies, including their focus, base location and employment availability, as well as the proper ways in which someone should present themselves when interacting with potential employers. Students were encouraged to bring their resumes, conduct prior research on the companies they find interesting, dress professionally and practice a concise sales pitch for use in interview-type situations.
“This year’s Engineering Job Fair is the largest to date and the largest in the State of Maine,” Christie Blackie, the director of UMaine’s Career Center, explained. “It is wonderful to see the number of employers who want to meet with our students and the number of alumni who return to recruit. It is truly a testament to the quality of our students and to the College of Engineering.”
The Career Center will, on Feb. 5, 2020, be hosting its annual Career Fair, the second of its yearly job fairs, and one that caters to students from every academic discipline. For further information on the Engineering Job Fair, including a list of every attending company, the Career Center can be found in Room 300 of the Memorial Union and contacted either over the phone at 207.581.1359, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.