UMass Lowell hosted a Non-Profit and Government Career Fair Wednesday afternoon in O’Leary Library. Going to a career fair can be nerve wrecking because students may not know what awaits them. One could possibly meet their future employer and have no expectations coming in. There is also the struggle of deciding what to wear. Should students pop in wearing everyday clothes, hoping to present themselves as they are? Should they throw on a spiffy suit or heels and try to impress future employers?
Ultimately, this was a fairly laid-back environment, and both business casual and jeans and a sweatshirt would have worked just fine. Overall the event proved to be a success. There was a total of 39 companies and organizations listed, which made finding something of interest easy.
Many of the employers and organizations had similar reasons for coming to UMass Lowell for the career fair. Aside from recognizing the overwhelming professionalism UMass students display, it ultimately came down to relative location. Many of the companies are located within Lowell or in neighboring towns and are looking for motivated students to join their organization.
This career fair was fruitful because of the interpersonal connection the organizations focus on. Many of the opportunities were centered around giving back to the community in some way; whether it was through serving as a behavioral aid for children with autism, providing service and assistance for people with mental health or addiction problems, or even working in a police department. The avenues available vary.
However, they are all ways to improve the overall public health of our communities. Despite the individual motivation, desire to give back and support others, of each of these organizations, they still value and seek students of the social sciences.
One critique of the fair was the lack of interest the employers displayed. Maybe it was because they had been there for a couple of hours. Unless students walked up to the table enthusiastic and intrigued, the employers did not say anything. However, if one is not familiar with the organization/company, they would only be walking up to the table to attain information and learn about the organization. Through the communication and the way the employer explains the company, a person may be swayed or turned away from the opportunity.
One employer that made a large impact was City Year, an education nonprofit organization founded in 1988 dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. The representative seemed to be the only one who truly loved waking up each morning and going to work. He was passionate about working with the kids and being that positive influence in their lives, and interactions with him made City Year seem like something students would be interested in.