Career Services broadens job search help across fields


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Students mill around at University Career Services’ fall internship and job fair, which was held over two days for the first time in about a decade. The fair drew about 1,100 students each day and was an effort by UCS to diversify the industries represented.

Jeanne Kuang, Campus Editor

A record number of nearly 150 companies met with students at the first two-day iteration of University Career Services’ fall internship and job fair in about a decade.

The fair, which ran Tuesday and Wednesday in Norris University Center, drew about 1,100 students each day, UCS executive director Mark Presnell said.

Presnell said the fair was extended to two days to showcase more employers than past fairs and to “emphasize increasing the opportunities in different industries.” Companies that attended the fair for the first time included General Mills and Colgate-Palmolive.

The expanded fair was one of several steps UCS has been taking since the summer to expand its services for a broader range of student career interests, Presnell said.

Along with co-sponsoring more networking sessions with alumni through the Northwestern Alumni Association this summer and launching a “Jobs for ‘Cats” Twitter account in August, UCS reached out to career-focused campus groups to ask what companies students wanted to see represented at the fair.

The feedback reflected companies from a wide variety of fields, Presnell said, adding UCS wants to broaden beyond the finance and consulting jobs traditionally offered at the career fair.

Medill senior Allisha Azlan, who is interested in a career in journalism, attended both days of the career fair. She said while she understands many media companies recruit students later in the academic year, she still found the fair heavily focused on finance and consulting.

Students look at a list of employers represented at University Career Services’ fall internship and job fair Wednesday.
Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer
Students look at a list of employers represented at University Career Services’ fall internship and job fair Wednesday.

“I’m a journalism-history double major so I definitely felt very out of place,” Azlan said. “I understand a lot of positions they were looking for involved someone good with numbers or analytical thinking. As soon as I said I was a journalism major, they assumed I wasn’t good at that.”

A UCS survey of the undergraduate class of 2013 conducted six months after graduation, which drew responses from 59 percent of graduates, showed 16 percent of alumni were working in consulting while 15 percent were working in business or financial services or investment banking.

The results showed 11 percent of survey respondents had gone into engineering, 16 percent into media, communications and marketing, 10 percent into teaching and 7 percent into nonprofit or government work.

In November, UCS will change its name to Northwestern Career Advancement, reflecting the department’s initiative to “package some of these programs and services we’ve been developing over the course of the last year into something that teaches students to be forward-looking,” Presnell said.

“We want to be the place that students can go and have their resume looked at, but we also want students to think about us when they’re deciding what career fields to go into,” he said. “It really is an effort to get students thinking about their career choice early.”

UCS also plans to launch a new website that will provide more information to students about job opportunities within their schools and majors as well as tips for success among all fields.

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Twitter: @jeannekuang