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Engineering futures through Fall 2021 Engineering Career Fair

As students continue to advance through their coursework and research, a single question becomes more pressing: what next? To help students answer that question, the College of Engineering hosted its biannual Engineering Career Fair on Sept. 14 and 15 where students engaged with prospective employers to talk about internship, co-op and full-time work opportunities. The event, hosted through the app Career Fair Plus, was the third career fair to be held virtually.

As one of the largest career fairs in the country for engineering students, the event hosted 182 employers and had more than 9,200 appointments scheduled by 2,243 candidates. Companies in attendance included Duke Energy, ExxonMobil and Eastman Chemical Company. Both current NC State students or alumni and non-NC State affiliated candidates were invited to attend.

Candidates were able to look through a schedule to identify employers they were interested in speaking with and book 10-minute video appointments to speak with a recruiter.

Lexi Kloeppel, a chemical engineer from Eastman Chemical Company who was recruiting for students in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, emphasized how recruiting at the career fair is a primary way to fill positions.

“It was a bit different due to the virtual format,” said Kloeppel. “It was good in that with the appointments, students seemed to have prepared and knew what Eastman was going into the appointment. We got some solid candidates.”

Kaia Spero, a sophomore mechanical engineering major who was interested in internships related to manufacturing, appreciated the virtual environment as it provided a private setting to get to know employers.

“It’s one-on-one time with the recruiter that’s already scheduled and planned,” said Spero. “While it might be easier to walk up and find information in person, with virtual, you don’t have to worry about not getting to speak to someone because of a line.”

Andrew Kotnour, a senior mechanical engineering major who was interested in full-time employment or rotational programs in the power industry, said that the career fair was a good opportunity to learn more about what is available in the industry.

“When you attend, you may get to learn about a company you didn’t know about before and maybe discover that it’s a great fit. You see that there’s more out there than what you might have focused on before; it opens more doors,” said Kotnour.

The career fair also provided students such as Spero a chance to figure out what they would like to accomplish both before graduation and post-graduation.

“It’s great to hear what working engineers do because you get a better sense of what you might do, and see how different jobs overlap or how different they are from each other,” said Spero. “I appreciate the interdisciplinary side and that as an engineer you aren’t stuck in one field; there’s room for exploration.”

The students thought that the career fair helped build their network with potential employers, while Kloeppel suggested that for students who wish to attend, they come prepared with informed questions and an elevator pitch so that they can make the most of their time.

Spero’s main advice to students would be to “put yourself out there and market your best self.”

“These companies are coming because they want to hire NC State students,” said Spero. “Use the opportunity to introduce yourself and use the recruiter to give you advice, especially as many are recent NC State alumni.”

Missed this career fair? The College invites students and non-students to register for the Spring 2022 Virtual Engineering Career Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Registration for all participants is free and only requires creating an account through Career Fair Plus.

This post was originally published in College of Engineering News.