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Engineering Career Fair draws students, leading companies

The fall 2015 NC State Engineering Career Fair at the university’s Jane S. McKimmon Center was filled to the brim with well-dressed students who had their résumés in hand and questions on the tip of their tongues.

The event is one of the largest engineering career fairs in the country and has experienced exponential growth each year. The Wall Street Journal has ranked NC State engineering graduates as among the most sought-after graduates by corporate recruiters because of their ability to move into full-time positions right after graduation and succeed.

Held on Sept. 29 and 30, the fall career fair drew more than 1,200 representatives from 372 companies and government agencies seeking candidates for full-time positions, internships and co-op spots. Whether it was through their résumés or just their interest and knowledge of the company, students had to be prepared to sell themselves effectively and leave a positive impression.

Company representatives asked students about their hobbies, projects they have worked on and their employment history. They assessed students’ communication skills and whether they had a specific interest in the company or had done any research on it. A few recommended that students try not to limit themselves to one position, but instead look for a variety of openings they might be interested in applying for or that would be a good match for their skill set.

“We know that they’re looking to gain experience, so we don’t expect them to have the knowledge of the preparation to really work when we look,” said Joe Mayer, a project manager from Steel Fab, Inc. “But we’re really just looking for people who are motivated, who set goals, who are organized, and you can see that through their studies. GPA is becoming less and less relevant. It’s more about personalities and communication skills.”

This year’s fall career fair saw 7,729 attendees. Of those, 5,837 were NC State students and 1,892 were from colleges and universities in North Carolina and across the country. The total attendance figure surpassed the fall 2014 total of 7,540 over two days. A single-day career fair is held during the spring semester.

Upon entering the packed facility, students received guidebooks that outlined the rooms and booths where each company and government agency could be found, along with descriptions of each of the exhibitors and the majors they were targeting and positions they intended to fill.

A few students came to the fair’s first day just to get their hands on a book in order to research the companies they were interested in and find the easiest way to get around and speak to them later that day or the next. The fair was extremely crowded both days, but these students were making sure they were prepared to meet with these representatives and have a greater insight on what they need to bring to the table.

“I think that the brochure gives kind of a brief rundown of the company, but when you actually get face to face with them, you can ask questions and get a better understanding of what the company’s all about,” said Brian Linn, an industrial engineering major who is graduating in December and looking for a full-time position. “And if you’re going to be applying for a specific role, what duties or responsibilities that role might entail.”

The spring career fair will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on February 3. More information is available at