Last October, a record-breaking 1,300 students suited up, printed out their résumés, and met with more than 100 potential employers at BU’s annual Fall Career Fair. Tomorrow, recruiters from 109 for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations, among them Boston Children’s Hospital, Liberty Mutual, and Teach for America, will convene in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom for the Center for Career Development (CCD) 2017 Spring Career Fair. For the first time, the CCD is offering a new tool called the Fairs App to help students better prepare for the fair by researching potential employers in advance.
The interactive app can be viewed on a computer or downloaded onto iOS and Android. Created by the Career Center at Colorado State University in 2016, the Fairs App is now used by more than two dozen American universities to supplement their career fairs.
The app provides short biographies of each employer at tomorrow’s fair and a link to its website. Students can filter recruiters based on industry, major, and position types (jobs or internships), and “favorite”—those employers who most appeal to them. The app works in conjunction with Handshake, the online hub for career resources at BU unveiled this past fall. If, for example, a student is interested in working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has the agency saved on Handshake, the prospective employee would see that recruiters from the bureau will be present at tomorrow’s fair. CCD staff say they hope busy, tech-savvy students will try the app out before the fair to be as prepared as possible and be able to ask recruiters intelligent questions.
“One of the things that we hear every year from employers is that they love coming to BU and they love BU students, but they really wish they were more prepared for the conversation with the recruiter on the fair day,” says Eleanor Cartelli, CCD senior associate director. “So we continue to work at trying to educate students around preparing in advance—doing research on the employers who are there and creating a target list of which employers to go after will help.”
In addition to facilitating research, the Fairs App has an interactive map showing the location of each employer the day of the fair. Paper maps will be available on Thursday, but students who use the app can plan in advance how to navigate the ballroom to make the best use of their time.
“It’s really knowing who you want to go talk to, but it’s also about making your time at the fair efficient,” Cartelli says.
Today the CCD is hosting a Résumé Blitz from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Yawkey Center for Student Services, sixth floor, where students can review their résumés with Career Center staff. The center is also sponsoring a drop-in event tonight called Career Fair Squared, in Yawkey Center Room 101 from 6 to 8 p.m. It will offer tips about how to best use the Fairs App, how to properly dress for the fair, how to prepare an elevator pitch, and how to write a résumé and cover letter effectively.
“We can’t force students to do their homework,” Cartelli says. “We are just trying to encourage them to really own their experience and own their journey and give them the tools that will help make that a bit easier.”
The Spring 2017 Career Fair is tomorrow, Thursday, February 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom, 775 Comm Ave., second floor. Download the Fairs App here (for Android), here (for iOS), or view it online.
Liz Vanderau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.