Thrice as many recruiters at Job Fair

By CiaraShook

At a time when jobs are rare and money is scarce, a bevy of area businesses visited Columbia on April 8 for the annual Job Fair, eager to find new faces and fresh talent among Columbia students and alumni.

For the fourth consecutive year, Student Employment brought businesses to campus, and this year’s turnout was by far the best. Seventy-five businesses came to campus, compared to previous years’ turnout of 20-25. Many Chicago-area businesses came to scout students looking for internships, career opportunities or summer work. The Job Fair attracted a large amount of student and alumni interest, as many showed up with resumes in hand and dressed

to impress.

Businesses ranged from City Year, Clear Channel, Dominick’s, Wine from the Moon, Twenty Something, People Scout and Yelp.

Employers set up camp on the eighth floor of the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., where students and guests chatted, exchanged business cards and helped themselves to popcorn and other finger foods.

“[The larger number] has a lot to do with companies’ availability,” said Maxine Evans, director of the Office of Student Employment. She also said Columbia is now more-recognized, which attracts employers.

This change may continue with the recent hire of Megan Erskine whose newly-created position, job locator and developer, connects the Office of Student Employment to the Portfolio Center and is designated to help students find employment in their industry.

“We connected the initial employers through Columbia Works,” Erskine said of attracting businesses to campus. “From there, it exploded and we were able to maintain contact with them. I know it’s a recession, but people are always looking for talented people.”

Evans said in past years a handful of students have gotten jobs as a result from meeting employers at Columbia’s annual Job Fair and she hopes to see the number increase this year because more businesses are visiting.

“In the future, we’re working to do better at having employers get the numbers of students hired back to us,” Evans said.

Adam Welsh, junior acting major, checked out the CNN table and Video Gallery HD, a videography company serving Chicago and the surrounding area.

“I’ve been shooting and editing video since I was 15 and I could do both,” Welsh said. “I think that is a job I could be well-fit for. Now, I’m looking at [Starland Kids] because they teach acting and that’s what I do.”

Students looked for jobs that complemented their field of study, but also looked for part-time employment.

Hillary Bauer, who is in her third year at Columbia and is double-majoring in music composition and audio arts and acoustics, picked up applications from Wendella Boats and the Museum of Science and Industry. Bauer still maintains a job she picked up at the 2008 Job Fair, as an usher at the Chicago Theatre, but is looking for more work.

“I work when there’s a show and if there’s no show for two months, I don’t work for two months,” she said. “I need something else.”

Bauer hopes to take away what she experienced from the seemingly unrelated summer jobs and apply them to her music composition writing.

The Job Fair is considered a place for students to find different types of work: part-time jobs, internships and full-time jobs, but it also gives employers a chance to see Columbia’s talented students.

Columbia alumnus David Miller, producer for Mindlight Films and a Columbia film and video alumnus said it’s exciting to return as part of a production company to look for interns and to see what kind of graduates Columbia would produce.

“There’s part of me who wants to go back to the school I went to,” Miller said. “I’ve had people who’ve worked with my films who’ve gone onto bigger things and it’s nice to have watched them grow. This is a good place to find them.”