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Pandemic Shifts Spring Career Fair to a Successful Virtual Format

Pandemic Shifts Spring Career Fair to a Successful Virtual Format

April 29, 2021

In an effort to support over 900 students with their spring 2021 Arch semester-away search, the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute continues to engage and build partnerships with top industry employers. Through a collaborative effort, the CCPD works closely with companies to create a virtual presence for their organizations, to market their employment opportunities to Rensselaer students, and ultimately, to fulfill their recruitment needs. 

With a variety of opportunities for employers to get to know the students at Rensselaer, the spring career fair tops the list. During this event, employers had the opportunity to engage with and compete for top-quality students who match their desired skill set and unique environment in architecture; business; engineering; humanities, arts, and social sciences; information technology; and science. 

From large-scale Fortune 100 companies to local startups, the 2021 virtual spring career fair attracted a variety of organizations that appeal to Rensselaer students, including Deloitte, Bristol Myers Squibb, Amphenol, EYP Architecture & Engineering, National Security Agency, The Raymond Corporation, IBM, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Sandia National Laboratories. 

Shifting to a virtual format during the pandemic proved to be a success with 143 employers and 1,143 students participating, aligning with the turnout from our in-person spring career fair in 2020. Leading up to the event, opportunities marketed through Handshake for employers to connect with students generated 3,787 pre-scheduled one-on-one interview sessions. An impressive 98% of the sessions attended by Rensselaer students were attended, surpassing the national average of 81%. 

“The virtual career fair format removed barriers, allowing employers and students to participate from all over the country and even the world during these unprecedented times. We were extremely pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to connect employers and students virtually,” said Philip Bruce, director of the CCPD. 

To prepare students for the 2021 spring virtual career fair, the career development team from the CCPD held 28 career fair workshops and 12 resume development and critique workshops. “Helping students develop the skills and confidence needed to engage with employers in a virtual environment was a top priority,” said Erika Cary, associate director of the CCPD. “In fact, the employer satisfaction and feedback survey results noted that 87% of our employer partners agreed or strongly agreed that our students were well-prepared.”  


Reeve Hamilton
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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.