Career fair helps students prepare for real world

Photo Courtesy of The Gateway
Photo Courtesy of The Gateway

Kelsey Johnson

The transition from college life to the real world can be tough, especially in the search to find a career. The University of Nebraska at Omaha Academic and Career Development Center (ACDC) aims to ease some of the pressure by providing a career fair on campus each semester.

Joe Hayes, an assistant director at ACDC, said it’s a rare opportunity for students to connect face-to-face with employers even in the digital age.

“Employers are telling us they really value when they can meet a student one-on-one as opposed to just seeing a resume come through,” Hayes said

Students aren’t taking this opportunity lightly. Nearly 800 students came out for the fair, a much better turnout than the last few semesters. They were also much more prepared, dressing professionally and coming equipped with questions for their potential future employers.

The fair this spring semester was held at UNO’s Baxter Arena. The new venue allowed room for 96 different employers to come and network with students. With college grads in such high demand, Hayes said the large venue almost isn’t big enough.

“We couldn’t fit 96 in the CEC or student center, which are places we’ve had the fair in the past,” Hayes said. “We still had a waiting list, so we still aren’t able to accommodate everybody but we’re looking for ways to do that going forward.”

Some of the employers at the fair this semester included Kiewit, Boys Town, Hayneedle, Mutual of Omaha, Oriental Trading Company and Union Pacific.

In addition to the traditional career fair, ACDC tried out a series of professional speakers in what they called career talks, where they engaged with students in a new, innovative way to discuss topics relevant to new grads.

Elizabeth Kraemer, director of alumni relations for the UNO Alumni association, was one of the speakers for the career fair career talks. She believes career fairs are an important part of the transition to the real world.

“Career fairs are very important because they serve as an opportunity for students to get a feel for what job openings are available in the community and also to explore potential career options,” Kraemer said. “It’s exciting to think about the possibilities when you combine the dynamic employers in the Omaha community with our incredibly talented and passionate UNO students.”

If you missed the career fair but still want an opportunity to network with professionals in Omaha, ACDC has you covered. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on the Summer Opportunities Fair, which will be held April 14 from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. in room 201 in the Community Engagement Center.