Why Skidmore Could Use Its Own Job Recruitment Fair
On March 2, a group of Skidmore seniors will travel to New York City for Eastern College Career Day (ECCD), a job interview fair open to only a select group of liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Bowdoin and Wesleyan. Skidmore’s Career Development Center (CDC) has publicized this event as an opportunity for seniors to secure employment before graduation. However, the ECCD and other job-related events at Skidmore seem to be geared more toward those interested in only a few industries -- business, finance, and health care sectors.
It is important to note, however, that the CDC has successfully been able to dramatically increase the number of job recruiters on campus over the past few years. The office has also built connections with companies such as Ernst & Young, which allowed a select number of Skidmore students to interview directly with alumni who are currently working at the firm last fall. And in addition to organizing events like ECCD or last fall’s Wall Street panel for finance and consulting, the CDC also does an admirable job at updating students through weekly newsletters and providing one-on-one assistance for those who seek career counsel.
However, the high and rising cost of a college education continues to put pressure on a school like Skidmore to ensure that students receive a commensurate return for their education, usually in the form of a desired career position or income level; and while not to suggest that Skidmore’s ability to successfully prepare students for the “real world” is unsatisfactory, opportunities to further facilitate desirable job placement for all students is desired.
Take ECCD, for instance. Despite being a great opportunity for students, there are logistical challenges that can deter students from attending this event. For starters, you have to be selected by at least one employer for an interview; after that occurs, you must then find a way to arrive in either New York or Boston by 9:00 a.m. on the day of the fair, which can be costly, unrealistic, and/or inconvenient.
A far bigger issue, however, is that ECCD and other job-related events at Skidmore seem to be geared more toward those interested in only a few industries. ECCD features employers largely from the finance, legal and health care sectors, while the CDC already hosts about one or two finance and consulting related events per academic year. Skidmore obviously cannot control which firms attend an event like ECCD, and it would not make sense to stop holding these events altogether, even if they are largely just for business and economic majors. But it is worth mentioning that many students who major in different concentrations, like the humanities for example, are most likely not receiving the same opportunities and advantages from these events, despite making up a considerable part of Skidmore’s population -- 20% of majors are Social Sciences, 11% Visual and Performing Arts, and 10% Psychology (U.S. News 2016).
Students who major in studies such as Political Science and English, for instance, also receive most job and internship related information from diligent professors (most of whom are department heads) who are eager to forward such developments. Yet, given the aforementioned points, it can still be difficult for students in these departments to successfully find relatively attractive positions.
A possible solution would be for Skidmore to organize its own recruitment fair similar to the one that will take place this week in New York City. The benefits of Skidmore’s own event could include attracting better, more diverse recruiters because if a large group of students attend, it would incentivize recruiters to come in the first place and to keep coming on an annual basis. Having a recruitment event at Skidmore would also allow the CDC to invite and consider recruiters from less popular majors. Moreover, the CDC could model this job fair after schools like Franklin and Marshall—another similarly sized liberal arts school that has their own on-campus recruiting event.
Ultimately, the CDC does a wonderful job of securing information for people interested in realms like business and finances; however, it should not be a surprise to see a listing on one of their weekly newsletters geared toward a humanities major, like the Scholastic internship featured on their email on Feb. 26. An on-campus recruiting fair would allow greater diversity of jobs and fields, thus truly representing the interests of Skidmore’s varied students.
Featured image above taken from Franklin and Marshall's most recent job recruitment fair