June 13, 2024

Last semester most activities, including classes and clubs, occurred online. While having virtual versions of these activities was better than canceling them entirely, students and faculty alike are excited to return to on-campus classes and events.

One of these on-campus events, the Business Career and Internship Fair, happened on Sept. 22, which marked the first career fair California Baptist University has hosted since the school returned to in-person classes and activities. 

It was hosted in the Innovators Auditorium in the Robert K. Jabs School of Business Building.

Lisa Singer, director of the Career Center, said there were 40 companies that came to talk to CBU students at the fair.

To keep the event socially distanced to minimize contact and the potential spread of COVID-19, the school had to reduce the number of companies that could attend, but it still had plenty of choices. Many companies were eager to meet potential employees and interns from CBU.

The career fairs are for everyone from various majors. They offer a wide range of companies for many fields, including Aflac, the FBI, the Army, Target, Pepsi and 13 different accounting firms. 

These employers offered jobs pertaining to marketing and public relations, accounting, engineering, finance, information technology, political science and many that are open to all majors.

While most companies were looking for students with some experience, Singer said she thinks it is important to start making those connections

“Start building the relationship with employers,” Singer said. “Now more than ever, (employers) want to build the relationships. They want to start meeting our students as freshmen and sophomores, even when they’re not looking, and cultivate a relationship.”

Isaac Flores, freshman business administration major, said he did just that.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people here are more looking for seniors and juniors for their internships, but as for me I’m just always looking to get my foot in the door,” Flores said. “It doesn’t hurt to stop by and say hi.”

Flores said he thinks it is important to establish that early on, so they will know him in the future when he has more experience.

Omar Esmieu, recruiting manager for the Army office in Fontana and CBU alumnus, said he thinks the transition back to in-person fairs has been interesting and that attending in person makes interactions with students easier.

“This is my first time going back in person since COVID, so we are trying to figure everything out, but (that day was) pretty successful,” Esmieu said. “A lot of people showed up and actually talked to us, so it was better than the virtual one we had as far as attendance and (talking) a little bit about what you are offering.”

Grace Kenyon, lead senior associate at Luttrell Weigs LLP, said she agrees that in-person meetings are easier and give employers a better chance at getting a proper impression of potential employees.

“It’s a lot more successful in person,” Kenyon said. “It’s a lot easier on the kids — the students are more involved in it. It’s great because people get the opportunity to actually go up to employers and shake their hands and ask them questions. It’s a lot easier to build connections when you are going up to someone, handing them your resume, and making that in-person connection.”

Despite preferring in-person meetings and being grateful we are getting to a place where it is safer to do it, companies are still doing many meetings virtually.

“We do a lot, especially interview-wise, through the phone and through Zoom,” Kenyon said. “We are (still) transitioning back from remote to in-person.” 

This career fair was a success, as the first of the Career Center’s fairs to return in person since the start of the pandemic. Singer said that 206 students attended the career fair. 

If students missed this event or are looking to connect with more businesses, the career center will be holding other fairs during the semester, with the next one being the engineering fair on Oct. 6, followed by the seminary fair on Oct. 20 and the Fall Career Expo on Nov. 3.

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