Careers Day engages employers, connects students

(Edmonton) The University of Alberta campus has many telltale signs of fall, but none are more important for students than the arrival of the annual Careers Day presented by CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre. With a 20 per cent increase in the number of registered employers, this year’s incarnation also seems to be a strong indicator of a recovering economy.

With 240 employers, colleges and professional organizations packing the Butterdome this year, and an expected attendance of more than 7,000 students and alumni, this year again has the makings of showcasing the value the University of Alberta has to offer. Lest there be any doubt, Joan Schiebelbein, director of the career centre, notes that the annual interdisciplinary Careers Day is the largest event of its kind in Canada. And that word is spreading among employers and staff alike.

“We’re getting new employers coming on all the time, and I think part of that is the university’s reputation and the quality of the programs here as well as the quality of the services,” she said. ”When the financial crisis happened, there was definitely a drop in [employer] attendance. And now we’re seeing that come back to full capacity again. We’re basically sold out for what we’re able to handle this year.”

Employer engagement is key

Schiebelbein credits her staff with organizing, attracting and retaining so many employers annually. She says her staff actively engage employers and involve themselves within several groups such as the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Their behind-the-scenes work is crucial to making the event a repeat success.

That relationship-building may get employers into the Butterdome, but it is the engagement with students that stirs their return.

“Once these employers get here, they see the services, they experience them, and they meet the students,” said Schiebelbein. “They see the quality, then they get those repeaters coming back again and again. “

Networking, contact is essential

Schiebelbein points out that while some employers may be seeking to hire now, there are plenty of other reasons to visit the fair and talk to employers. She says many are already actively seeking summer hires, and others are looking to discuss the skill sets and values that their companies seek in future employees. Whether students are still fresh to campus or entering their final years, there are plenty of reasons for all to attend.

“Just thinking about the future—seeing what types of career opportunities that employers have to offer and making those connections early—I think is a valuable activity for them to undertake,” she said.

Careers Day runs Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Butterdome on the U of A’s north campus.

Related links

List of exhibitors at Careers Day 2012