Author: Tom Snee
American employers are hiring again, and that economic improvement means another record number of organizations will be represented at this spring’s career fair, with hundreds of jobs, internships, and other career opportunities waiting for University of Iowa students.
For the second year in a row, the fair will reach its maximum 160 organizations offering career opportunities as employees, interns, or graduate students. Among the employers participating are CRST, ACT, Berkshire Hathaway, Hy-Vee, IBM, Otis Elevator, Wells Fargo, and Vermeer Industries.
The spring fair will be held Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Main Lounge and Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Employers and organizations will have representatives on hand to collect résumés from UI students, provide more background on their organizations, and possibly line up interviews.
“The job and internship fair and on-campus interviews are the only time companies and employers will come to our students here on campus, and it’s a great opportunity to make those initial contacts that lead to jobs,” says D. Allan Boettger, director of corporate and community outreach in the UI Pomerantz Career Center. “One frequent fair recruiter told me that the caliber and preparation of UI students is second to none.”
Boettger says the high number of job and internship fair participants is an accurate reflection of recent news reports that employers are starting to hire again after a lull of several years. The number of fair participants was as low as 130 in 2011 before the economy started to rebound.
Trends he sees in hiring are for sales and, especially, information technology jobs, and those that require strong communication skills, particularly experience with social media.
Another result of the improved economy is that many current workers, managers, and even owners of organizations are considering retirement, Boettger says. This means opportunities for this year’s graduates to move into management jobs earlier in their careers, and possibly even to become involved in succession planning in family-owned businesses.
Of particular interest to current students, Boettger says many employers are also becoming more “millennial-friendly,” adjusting their workplaces to make them more comfortable for those who want their work to better reflect their values and interests. That means such amenities as game rooms, on-site gyms, flexible hours, and bring-your-pet-to-work days, and even opportunities to perform public service and engagement activities during work hours.
The Pomerantz Career Center sponsors one comprehensive job and internship fair each semester as part of its plan to help UI students develop career plans and find internship and job opportunities. The center also sponsors specialized fairs for students in the College of Education, and for students studying actuarial and risk management. The center’s HireaHawk.com online job listings has anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 listings, and Pomerantz career advisers are always available to help students write résumés or cover letters, improve their job interview skills, or even just figure out what they want to do with their lives.
The fair will also host seven graduate and professional schools for students interested in pursuing careers that require additional education.
The fair will be preceded the night before by a Consider Iowa Networking Night that gives UI students the opportunity to meet with 35 Iowa employers and learn more about career opportunities within the state. That event will be held in Old Capitol from 5:30 to 7 p.m.