Are You Ready for the Spring Career and Internship Fair?

A record 125 employers will recruit GW students and alumni on Feb. 17 at the Charles E. Smith Center.

career fair
February 10, 2016

By Brittney Dunkins

There is just one week left to prepare for the annual George Washington University Spring Career and Internship Fair, where a record-breaking 125 employers will set up camp Feb. 17 at the Charles E. Smith Center from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to recruit new employees and interns and provide information about their organizations.

The biannual Center for Career Services event has become a university-wide effort to support students at every level—from undergraduate freshmen to graduate students—as well as alumni who are on the hunt for their next job, internship or volunteer position, according to Rachel Brown, assistant provost for university career services.

“Right now we have a waiting list of at least 18 employers who wanted to recruit GW students at the fair,” said Graham Bottrel, Center for Career Services associate director for employer relations. “We usually don’t fill up a month in advance—it’s unprecedented.”

Among the featured employers are fair sponsors Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, organizations who often recruit alumni such as Reingold, Teach for America and the Peace Corps and newcomers to the fair such as the World Bank and software company Tableau.

The fair once again will feature on-site student services, including the LinkedIn Professional Photo Booth co-sponsored by LinkedIn and the Office of Alumni Relations. It will offer free professional headshots to all students. Undergraduate seniors also can speak with employers—several of whom are alumni—about ways to improve their profiles at the LinkedIn “Rock My Profile” booth.

Career Coaches will be available in the “prep room” for students who want to practice their introduction skills, talk through concerns or conduct last minute research. This year, the prep room will be located on the entrance level of the Smith Center in the F Street side auxiliary gym because employers will have booths in the former prep room space on the lower level.

In the days leading up to the fair, students are advised to review the fair preparation page, research the list of employers with whom they wish to speak and—if they haven’t done so—submit their resume for a critique. Students also can visit the Center for Career Services for one-on-one coaching to practice their professional introductions and ask questions about what to expect and how best to prepare.

The Center for Career Services Pinterest page offers “Dress for Success” insight into appropriate professional attire because “dressing the part” is an important element of making a great first impression.

Center for Career Services Administrator for Communications and Outreach Jeff Dagley stressed that the fair is open to all GW students and alumni and can provide the necessary practice that they need to be successful in the job search process.

Freshmen and sophomores may not be looking for a job yet, but the process of meeting employers, practicing their elevator pitch and dressing professionally will only help them become better prepared to job search later in their college career,” Mr. Dagley said.

Supporting Career Services

The Spring Career and Internship Fair is just one part of a university-wide effort to support the transition from academic program to professional career.  

Three post-baccalaureate surveys conducted last year by the Center for Career Services, the Office of Survey Research and Analysis and Development and Alumni Relations found that 86 percent of the class of 2014 secured employment, pursued a graduate or professional degree or participated in military or volunteer service and other activities during the year after graduation.

The Princeton Review recently also named GW the top school for internships for the second consecutive year.

“We are working with departments and schools across the university to make sure that students are prepared to find success—whether they are looking for an internship, a job or a volunteer opportunity,” Ms. Brown said.

To date this semester, the Center for Career Services has collaborated with university partners to host a series of programs to help sophomore students develop a Career Success Plan, an industry career month focused on international affairs and international development, and workshops that featured services and resources to meet the specific needs of diverse student groups including veteran and military students and international students.

Upcoming events include the annual Startup Career Fair in partnership with 13 universities on March 3 and the Public Health and Health Services Career Fair on March 31.

Students are encouraged to tweet about their experience using the hashtag #GWCareerFair.