On Friday, Oct. 24, the University of Minnesota hosted a career fair open to Minnesota college students. Oles boarded the bus provided by the Piper Center for Vocation and Career in their most formal attire. Binders with multiple copies of their resumes in hand and many aspirations in mind, they set off to the career fair. Unlike most job fairs, this one was entirely focused on government and nonprofit entities, attracting students who wish not only to advance their careers, but also to have some positive impact on society.
The fair was sponsored by the Minnesota College and University Career Services Association MCUCSA and was held in the Great Hall in the Coffman Memorial Union building. The hall was packed with rows of booths of representatives from a diverse selection of companies and organizations. Students and alumni from more than 30 participating colleges and universities engaged with the agencies, exchanging business cards or submitting resumes.
Some organizations even conducted interviews in booths as people shuffled to and fro in the crowded hall.
The event was professional but welcoming, with recruiters engaging applicants in conversation. These usually ended with the student receiving a handout listing the positions and opportunities available and how to apply for them. Organizations were categorized as one of three types: government, nonprofit or graduate school. There were about 90 organizations total.
The organizations themselves represented a wide array of fields and specializations. There were religious charity organizations such as Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud and the Lutheran Volunteer Corps as well as environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth Action.
Government organizations included the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI, the Federal Medical Center, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There were many recruiters from service organizations such as Americorps and Teach for America.
There were plenty of options for students interested in entering the politcal world. Representatives from the offices of Senator Al Franken, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Governor Mark Dayton and representatives from the office of the Minnesota Attorney General were all present. They sought politically-engaged college students for internship and job positions.
“I was surprised at the sheer number of nonprofits that all seemed to represent a different need. I was comforted by the idea that so many people are already involved in enacting social justice and not only concerned with making money,” said Marie Van Buskirk ’17 after attending the fair.
Students noted that the atmosphere was quite different from conventional career fairs. It was not competitive, but instead was laid-back and relaxed. Some students noted that the organizations representatives in the booths seemed quite passionate about their jobs and excited for careers in public service.