Career Fair offered students jobs, experience

By Carol Ekstrom

Career Fair organizers said an unstable economy helped boost attendance at this year’s event by 40 percent.

Last month, the Internship/Career Fair, sponsored by the NIU Cooperative Education Department, drew more than 1,200 students, up from the approximately 700 students in attendance last year.

The fair recruited graduating seniors for full-time positions and also helped other students look for career-related summer internships, said Fair Coordinator Mireya Pourshot.

“The companies involved with the fair took resumes from students, and if they were interested, they would conduct on-the-spot interviews,” she said. “Even if the student left without a position, they gained valuable experience by learning how to sell themselves and prepare themselves for future interviews.”

Director of Cooperative Education Doug Davis said attendance was up this year because of student awareness that experience is necessary in a scarce job market.

“Students are starting to realize they will need something more than a four-year degree to stand out,” he said. “The economy isn’t going to improve overnight, so students are starting to prepare for the job market before they graduate.”

Senior English major Debra Bragg, who works in the Cooperative Education Public Relations Department, said she attributes the success of the fair to the improved advertising for the event.

“We were better organized this year, and our advertising was much more intensive,” she said. “We really got the message out to the students this year, and they responded.”

Over 70 companies visited the fair. Great America, Allstate Insurance, Amoco and Abbott Laboratories were among the companies present to recruit NIU students for jobs and internships.