On April 18, the path from Walton to McInnis was lined with tables where more than 50 employers stood to tell Eastern University students about available job and internship opportunities. This was all due to the hard work of the staff and student workers of the Talent and Career Development Office.
The Cookout with Careers was created to be an intentionally casual job fair that would reduce the stress that could be generated by a more formal event. “I really wanted to make a fair that brought employers to students,” Director of The Office for Talent and Career Development, Sarah Todd said. Todd wanted the event to be informal to “allow for networking and get everyone opportunities to talk” she said.
This was a particularly exciting event for the Talent and Career Office as it was the first time they held a fair through the new Handshake system. It was certainly a successful event, as students were continuously approaching the tables to seek information and meet potential employers from one to four p.m.
“EU students are on [employers’] radar…Employers are interested and want to be on Eastern’s campus,” Todd said. There were employers from multiple fields, including Vanguard, America’s Grow-a-Row, CCRES Educational and Behavioral Health Services, Center for FaithJustice, Christian Academy of Guatemala, City Year, Main Line Day, JB Victor Financial, The Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences, The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division, The Shalom Project, Sodexo, T.W. Ponessa & Associates Counseling Services, Inc., TWR International, United States Liability Insurance Group, Values Into Action, and Verizon. In addition to these companies, there was actually a waitlist to attend the cookout as an employer, Todd said.
The Cookout was a great opportunity for students to meet employers, and also receive a free hamburger or veggie burger if they spoke with two different companies. The event was held in front of Walton, all along the path, and then in front of McInnis, and fortunately it was a beautiful, sunny day. “It is a really great opportunity for students to come as they are,” student worker Molly Kulp said on the day of the event. “It seems to be going great. We have really great weather, and more than 50 different employers,” she said.
The Career Cookout took a great deal of planning and coordination from the staff of the Talent and Career Development Office. “Without our student workers and staff volunteers, this event could not have happened,” Todd said. Many faculty members also played an important part in encouraging students to attend the event, as well as volunteering as staff. “Faculty and staff encouraged people to go…it was a great event for the entire community.”
Todd was thrilled with how the event took place. Her ultimate goal was to help ease the job-seeking process for students. “Students are so busy, and don’t always have time to run back to their dorm and get their suit and their resume,” Todd said. By bringing the employers to Eastern’s campus, and making the job fair a cookout, the Talent and Career Office was able to remove some of the formality from the event and encourage students to stop by and meet recruiters on their way to class or instead of getting lunch in the dining hall. Students can often be intimidated by the job application process and the potential awkwardness of contacting employers for further information, but ideally the Career Cookout reduced the intimidation of the search for jobs or internships and gave students the confidence necessary to follow up with the companies. “The process doesn’t have to be scary!” Todd said.
If you were unable to attend the Cookout with Careers, there are still many job and internships resources available to you. For more information, go to Eastern.edu, select Student Life, and then select Talent and Career Development for assistance with job searches, job applications, cover letters, and much more.