Cornell University

October 12 2012

ILR Career Fair

Celebrating 25 Years of Making Connections

CareerFair_web3At last year's ILR Career Fair, Maya Gunaseharan '12 reconnected with a representative from Nielsen whom she had met at earlier career fairs.

She cultivated the relationship further by attending a MILRSO (Minority ILR Student Organization) fireside chat and a Nielsen information session, and then staying in touch. Ultimately, she became one of just three graduates from across the country to be chosen for Nielsen’s HR Emerging Leaders Program.

This year, she will return to the Career Fair as an employer, looking to recruit another ILR student for the program.

The ILR Career Fair, now in its 25th year, will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Carrier Ballroom of the Statler Hotel. Among the 35 employers that have registered are longtime attendees, such as IBM, GE and Procter & Gamble, and newcomers, such as Adobe Systems, Phillips 66 and Polaris Industries.

Since that first Career Fair, the median starting salary for ILR students graduating with a bachelor’s degree has more than doubled, from $24,500 a year in 1987 to $53,000 a year in 2011. Over that same period, the number of students going directly into the workforce grew by almost half, from 49 percent to 73 percent, with the remainder going to graduate school or law school.

In the Class of 2011, 65 percent found their job through ILR connections.CareerFair_web2

"Even in the era of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, the Career Fair is a must-attend event, giving students in-person contact and allowing them to practice networking skills," says Marcia Harding, assistant director of the ILR Office of Career Services.

"The fair benefits recruiters, too, who can see what our students are like beyond the one-dimensional view they would get from resumes."

One student who will attest to the value of that experience is Ariella Zwerling '13, who has attended the Career Fair since her freshman year. That very first year, she secured an internship at Travelers Insurance. This year, she'll be looking for a full-time job.

"When I talk to recruiters face-to-face, I'm able to convince them that my resume is worth looking at,” she says. “I’m a big proponent of putting a face to the resume."

"Employers tell us they're looking for the problem-solving abilities of our students—their ability to look at problems and situations from multiple perspectives—along with analytical skills and communication skills," says Harding. "A lot of our employers also look for passion and enthusiasm."

"I'll be looking for that person who is able to leave an impression," Gunaseharan says. "I want students to really blow me away in the 30 seconds we have together."

Gunaseharan advises students to have fun at the Career Fair and use it as a learning opportunity. "We have fun when we see the candidates, so I hope they can have fun as well," she says.