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The Dartmouth
May 30, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Center for Professional Development hosts Fall Job and Internship Fair

Students had the opportunity to interact with representatives from 70 corporations to explore career prospects.

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On Sept. 14, the Center for Professional Development hosted its Fall Job and Internship Fair, an event designed for undergraduate students to meet employers and familiarize themselves with internships and post-graduation jobs. 

According to CPD director Monica Wilson, the event lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and saw more than 1,000 students and over 70 representatives. Wilson added that this was a “record year” for student participation. 

“Career fairs at Dartmouth can be pure exploration events or strictly hiring events,” Wilson said. “This particular fair has always been a mix of the two.” 

The fair is typically held within the first two weeks of fall classes — a less stressful point in the term, CPD associate director of employer relations Anne Lyford stated. Although students across every class year attended the event, Wilson said that first-years comprised the smallest number of attendees this year. Sophomores, juniors and seniors were better represented, she added.

“The smallest representation was first years, which was understandable because they’re just settling into Dartmouth,” Wilson said. “Many of them haven’t had the chance to figure out what exactly it is that they want to pursue, or even where to look.”

According to Lyford, who also served as the main organizer of the career fair, employers at the fair spanned across a variety of career and industry sectors — including commerce, consulting, education, finance, government, healthcare, international development, nonprofit organizations, research and technology.  

For the first time this year, Lyford and her team “dedicated space” to a new Creative Corner, a wing that featured both regional employers and Dartmouth alumni in the arts and culture sector. The groups in attendance included Northern Stage, a performing arts theater; AVA Gallery & Arts Center, an art gallery; Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, a preservation site; and the Hopkins Center Fellows Program, a mentorship program in arts administration. 

The Creative Corner aimed to include students who may have felt their professional opportunities limited by some of the options at the fair, Lyford explained. Wilson said she hopes that this section’s emphasis on alumni businesses will elicit “greater alumni engagement and strengthen their bond to current students.”

In the weeks leading up to the fair, Wilson said the CPD deployed a number of strategies to incentivize employer participation — from reaching out to alumni, family supporters and their representative foundations — to contacting organizations with regional branches in the Upper Valley area.

“We target everyone: employers who have attended in the past, employers we’re in contact with that haven’t attended in the past, employers we’d like to attend that we don’t currently have a relationship with,” Wilson said.

Sofia Wallace ’26, who also attended the fair, said she noticed that a few of the organizations present — including City Year, the Peace Corps and Teach for America — had been regularly contacting her with job openings and summer opportunities on the student career platform Handshake. 

“Generally, I know what to expect at these [events] through Handshake, which is really useful,” Wallace said. “At the fairs themselves, you can get a better sense of what these companies are actually like and get to ask questions, whereas on Handshake it’s obviously just very impersonal, and you’re just one of many to them.” 

Wilson noted that organizations that recruit on campus often use Handshake as a supplemental platform to communicate with students. 

“Handshake is just a good place to have all the information you need in one place. But the organizations that are constantly posting and messaging our students are not only active online,” Wilson said. “Many of them have long-standing relationships with our office and come to campus year-round to recruit students for a variety of roles.” 

Several new employers were in attendance this year, including economic consultancy firms, independent schools and investment research firms, as well as an agricultural merchant firm. Wilson said she hoped the new crop of employers present at the fair would expand the sectors that had “proved popular among students in the past.” 

“As usual, we’re trying to pull in people from a wide variety of fields, but we try to listen and pay attention to what our students want to see the most at these fairs,” Wilson said. “Even when considering fields that are already well-represented at our fairs, we ask ourselves what we can do to fill in the gaps.”