CCA hosts first Virtual Career Fair

Maddie Margioni, Staff Writer

On Sept. 3 students were invited to participate in a first for the University: a virtual career fair. Each semester, the University’s Center for Career Advancement (CCA) hosts a career fair in Gerhard Fieldhouse, but the fair had to move to online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

CCA Associate Director Alison Ordonez remarked on the differences in planning. “We initially planned for a traditional on-campus career fair in mid-September, but when we learned that events needed to be virtual during the fall semester, we quickly pivoted to utilizing Handshake’s virtual career fair platform,” Ordonez said.

Handshake replaced the Bridge this year as the University’s new platform for alumni and interested companies to reach out to students and connect over possible careers or internships.

Ordonez also added that the fair’s planning was made simpler by the shift to a virtual setting. “We no longer had to include all the logistical details such as the set-up of the fieldhouse, parking, and floor plan handouts that are needed for in-person fairs,” Ordonez said.

The CCA invited a wide range of companies, including Nielson, Teach for America and Oracle, which appealed to students of all majors and career paths. When reaching out to employers, Ordonez said she was looking for “employers who have attended past career fairs, organizations who interacted with Bucknell through job and internship postings on the previous Bridge system and new contacts on Handshake.” Ordonez also encouraged parents and alumni of the University to register as employers.

“Even though it was online, it was great to be able to connect with companies and see other students in group sessions,” Emily Taylor ’21 said.  “Having the option to go to one-on-ones and/or group sessions kept us able to connect with employers like in past career fairs,” Caroline Van Dijk ’21 said.

The one-on-one and group session options, new to this virtual fair, helped both students and employers. “Students no longer had to wait in line and wander around the fieldhouse like a traditional in-person career fair — they could set up their schedules to connect with employers they wanted to at very specific times throughout the day, right from their computers,” Ordonez said.

As for the future of virtual career fairs at the University, Ordonez had this to say: “We are definitely looking at scheduling several industry-focused virtual events/career fairs through the remainder of the semester. Be sure to complete your Handshake profile and look out for upcoming events. Career fairs are only one of many resources for job and internship searches, so I encourage students to make an appointment with the CCA to learn the best search  strategies for their individual interests.”

Students can find Handshake on their MyBucknell page, under the “Career Center” tab, and set up their profiles for future fairs and alumni relations.

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