Numbers Rise as University of Cincinnati
Date: Jan. 17, 2001
Virtual Career Fair is Offered for Third Year
Story by: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Archive: General News
Despite national reports that we're heading into a recession, the Univeristy of Cincinnati's Virtual Career Fair is expecting record attendance this year.
The e-career fair was first offered in 1999 as a time efficient and economically smart, if unconventional, tool for strapped employers to recruit in a tight market. The virtual fair allowed UC students and alumni to connect with employers across the nation in a Web meet-and-greet that allowed mutual employment screening via the computer screen.
That first weeklong event attracted 754 students and alumni who made more than 6,000 "visits" with employers. Last year, more than 900 students and alumni participated. This year, numbers are expected to top 1,000.
This year's Virtual Career Fair is set for Feb. 12-16, and will include more than 75 firms from throughout the country, including such diverse companies as Cadence Design Systems and Clean Harbors, both of Massachusetts, to Dow Corning Corporation of Michigan, Teradyne, Inc., of California, Microsoft, Cicada Semiconductor of Texas, and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. (A complete list of participating employers can be found at http://www.uc.edu/career/vcf2001.htm.)
Kara Aley, recruitment specialist at the Mayo Clinic, views the electronic fair as a valuable tool in a "challenging" recruiting market. She listed the challenges she currently faces: extremely low unemployment in Minnesota, Rochester's relatively small size, and the fact that workers don't necessarily realize the Mayo Clinic's needs for a wide variety of business/technology personnel.
"Our biggest need right now is for IT professionals and nurses. Though nurses, physicians and researchers may know the Mayo Clinic, finance professionals, accountants, auditors or technology professionals don't usually consider that we might need them.
"This is our first college virtual career fair, but we've had a very successful electronic fair with a regional newspaper that brought in a large number of applicants. Geographically, we get a good number of applicants from Ohio overall, from southern Ohio and eastern Pennsylvania. We know that our applicants are Web savvy after we found that a large percentage of the nurses who applied and were hired here used the Internet in their job search. So, this is a good bet for us," Aley said.
The Virtual Career Fair allows students and alumni to:
search out posted positions on employers' specially created career-fair Web pages which link to company Web sites
search out firms by geographic location where students would like to live
ask questions via e-mail
The Web fair looks to meet the needs of both employers and students, according to organizer Andrea Dine, assistant director of UC's Career Development Center. For employers, it's an economic recruiting tool because the event saves on transportation and other costs related to in-person recruiting. "Recruiting is still so competitive. Companies are concerned that they can't recruit the people they need," added Dine.
The electronic option also works for students, many of whom work since UC, the birthplace of cooperative education, requires participation in co-op for many majors. "UC is a university that works, so many students have found it difficult to attend the traditional career fair that meets for a few hours in the middle of the week. The virtual fair is open 24 hours a day," explained Dine.
Employers participate in the fair for only $100 while participation is free for students and alumni. For more information on the Virtual Career Fair or to register, go to http://www.uc.edu/career/employers.htm. Starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, UC students and alumni can visit with employers by going to the same site and clicking on the "students" or "alumni" buttons.