Engineering Expo complements career fair

Engineering students can break out their finest suits, best shoes and polished resumes for the Engineering Employment Expo, which will take place at the Illini Union from Monday, Sept. 23 to Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Over 200 companies will fill the Illini Union rooms A, B and C from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the three-day fair, recruiting engineering student for various internships and employment positions.

“There are so many companies that want to come to this university to recruit the fantastic students here,” said Ronald Meyer, co-director of the Expo and senior in Engineering.

Meyer chairs the entirely student-run committee in charge of putting together both the fall and spring Engineering Employment Expos.

“The Expo is a part of Engineering Council, which is kind of an umbrella organization for all engineering societies,” Meyer said.

Meyer explained that the Engineering Career Fair is a separate event run by the College of Engineering, but the Expo is essentially the same thing as the fair. It is just larger; the career fair is two days long.

The career fair typically attracts more companies than they can accommodate, so the Expo is meant to accommodate the overflow.

“We essentially serve the same purpose as the Engineering Career Fair and work along with them as a co-op, but we just offer another opportunity for companies to come recruit,” Meyer said.

Meyer encourages all students, underclassmen included, to attend the Expo.

“Freshmen are definitely going to want to go so they can get exposure and practice. Almost all the companies are hiring for internships as well as full-time, so this is a prime opportunity for underclassmen to get internships,” Meyer said. “If you’re lucky, the companies may remember you in the future because they often come back year after year.”

These career fairs are also beneficial in that they break the applying-online barrier. Rachel Gross, co-director of the Engineering Employment Expo committee and senior in Engineering, said she strongly believes that the majority of people in engineering get jobs through the Expo and career fair events.

“Companies will get hundreds, if not thousands, of online applications from students looking for jobs and internships, but the Expo allows you to meet company representatives in person, so you can really stand out,” she said.

To be best prepared for the Expo, Meyer said students should dress well, research companies beforehand so they know what they’re interested in, and have a strong resume. According to Meyer, students can have their resumes reviewed by Engineering Career Services by setting up an appointment.

Gross recalled how the Expo can be an intimidating experience.

“I remember I was very nervous and a lot of other people were as well,” she said. “But after talking to representatives for a while because of my position on this committee, I realized that these representatives are just regular people like anyone else and you can talk to them about a lot of things, you don’t have to worry about just impressing them all the time.”

Meyer said that despite the intense and crowded atmosphere, there really is no need to be nervous.

“The representatives are there looking for students and the students are looking for companies so there is kind of mutual benefit of this. Nobody is really gaining something that the other person isn’t also gaining,” Meyer said.

Meyers and Gross said that on Monday, Sept. 23, the Expo will host a Corporate Social event at The Clybourne from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The relaxed, business-casual gathering will kick off the Expo and include free food and drink.

“I think a lot of companies like to see students in a kind of relaxed environment rather than a full on suit, so I would definitely recommend students to go,” Meyer said.

Saher can be reached at [email protected]