The Financial Aid Office will host a virtual student employment fair on WesNest on Friday, March 5 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The fair aims to connect students with different University departments over Zoom so they can learn more about both potential current and future job opportunities and make professional connections in an informal setting.
“Students will be able to view current positions that are available and then connect with the department directly, maybe have a one-on-one conversation about the opportunity, if departments don’t have anything now or hoping to provide a space where students can connect with professionals on campus and maybe make a connection for the future,” Student Employment Coordinator Allison Soden said.
The event, which is open to all students, has been in the works since December 2020, after the first virtual student employment fair took place this past fall on Sep. 3.
“It’s a uniquely coordinated and centralized effort to bring together,” Student Employment Project Assistant Emma Roush ‘21 said. “Students looking for work, especially given the challenging circumstances of COVID-19 and how that’s affected campus, work with employers who are looking to employ qualified student workers, which is obviously a mutually beneficial connection to make.”
The fair is designed to be informal, allowing students and employers to converse and get to know each other better.
“It’s supposed to be casual,” Director of Operations at the Gordon Career Center Rachel Munafo said. “We’re really trying to drive this idea too for students. Stop by departments that you want to know more about and use it as an opportunity and find opportunities, or use it as a chance to find opportunities where you might not even realize they existed.”
Students will be able to visit as many departments as they are interested in. Additionally, the WesNest platform includes a virtual help desk Zoom room that students can utilize to speak with a representative from Student Employment, should they have any questions. The Office of Financial Aid will also be present at the fair, as well as the Peer Career Advisors from the Gordon Career Center.
“That’s something that we’re also leaning into for this event is, you know, having representatives across campus, just for answering questions during this event,” Soden said. “You might have questions about how to craft a professional resume or how to apply for a job. It’s been a nice collaboration between a lot of different departments.”
Soden added that there have been some changes since the last virtual student employment fair in Fall 2020 so that this one is more accessible and will help students in the long term.
“I think since the fall, we definitely confirmed that we want to have an open invitation to all departments, whether they’re actively hiring or not,” Soden said. “Because we realized in the fall [that] there were some opportunities where students were connecting with departments and they, through that networking experience, made a connection for the future.”
The organizers hope that the fair will expose students to the scope of the employment opportunities available to them on campus.
“There’s some really interesting work on this campus, and so by going into it with an open mind and trying to learn from one another, I think there could be some really important relationships developed,” Munafo said.
Despite the virtual nature of the fair, it will still provide plenty of ways for students to form connections with employers.
“As a campus community too, we all are so much more used to interacting with one another, having conversations, building relationships on Zoom, and a new Zoom meeting room,” Munafo said. “So I think this second time around now, there’s a lot more comfort with the technology across campaigns.”
Munafo emphasized that the virtual student employment fair is part of a larger effort to confer value onto student employment at the University.
“I think what’s so neat [is that this is an] opportunity to bring [the] campus together in this way that really is open for all students and all departments,” Munafo said. “It gives us a moment to talk as a campus about the importance of student employment, and really acknowledge that student employment can play such a valuable and impactful role in a student’s co-curricular engagement in the skills that they develop, and the people and relationships they build while they’re on campus.”
Students unable to attend the event or who have any questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rachel Wachman can be reached at email@example.com