Universum Study Shows Career Fair Presence Makes or Breaks Your Brand

A recent survey conducted by Universum found that students are finding career fairs increasingly more important to their job search.

Philadelphia, PA, November 24, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Another academic year is underway and soon the class of 2011 will enter the job market. With the recession behind us and the expectations of a growing economy, uncertainty is mixed with high hopes among these young career seekers. With the agendas for the upcoming season set, it’ll soon be time to meet employers and start the professional life – a moment for which both sides are preparing.

Career fairs, the second most useful source of information after employer websites according to the results of Universum’s Communicating with Talent 2010 report, are a meeting point for employers and future employees where both sides can get to know each other on a professional level but in a more relaxed setting compared to a formal interview or company presentation.

Tracy Drye, Senior Employer Branding Specialist at Universum, said, “In our contacts with students, we see a need to interact with employers and ask them about the soft aspects of work experience – something they will not find on the employer’s website. With the emphasis on work-life balance, we see a growing interest in the working environment and therefore an increased interest in these aspects of the job.”

Over 45% of the youngest respondents, in the age groups 18-21 and 22-25, rely on career fairs for information more than their colleagues over the age of 26, where it falls to 31%. The latter already have an established professional network that becomes increasingly more useful as their career develops. Therefore, unlike their younger counterparts where 15% find information from this source useful, the percentage increases to over 25% for this group.

When interacting with potential employers, the respondents agree that the informal mingling is the most valuable – 60% of career seekers agree.

“I was always intimidated by career fairs--the cold, stiff introduction, followed by the resume hand-off. But I have warmed up to such a scene with more and more exposure to my top-choice firms,” Christopher Sharp from Brigham Young University’s Marriot School said.

Nearly 40% of the respondents predict that not participating in the main career fairs would have a negative impact on the employers’ attractiveness. Ms. Drye commented, “This is only an indication of the predicted short-term effects. Lack of contact with your target audience over an extended period of time, whether they’re consumers or potential employees, will have a devastating influence on both brand recognition and the positive associations with it.”

Moreover, some companies have even found a way to achieve the benefits of a career fair without ever leaving the office. “Virtual” career fairs are a relatively new tool that employers are using to reach top talent. The benefit behind virtual career fairs is twofold—to create a more cost-effective way to reach job candidates, while also attracting more tech-savvy applicants. For example, KPMG saw a tremendous amount of success in its first virtual career fair, attracting over 20,000 registrants in only a 48 hour period according to accountingweb.com.

So whether you’re shaking hands in person or carrying a conversation over the Web, it remains immensely important to job candidates to interact with potential employers at career fairs.

Email: kate.balog@universumusa.com

Direct: 215.546.4900 x217 Mobile: 267.342.1406

About Universum
Universum is an international company that specialises in the field of employer branding*. Founded in 1988, its goal was to improve communication between students and the employers who want to recruit them. Today, Universum’s mission is to help employers excel in recruitment and retention by ensuring improvements to their employer brand. Universum delivers a full range of services in research, strategic consulting and communication solutions that enable employers to better understand, attract and retain current and future ideal employees. Universum is a trusted partner to 1,200 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, and co-operates with 1,500 universities worldwide to conduct research on the career and employer preferences of top talent. On an annual basis, the company surveys approximately 400,000 students and professionals worldwide. For more information, go to www.universumglobal.com.

*Employer branding is the strategy companies use to appeal to desired current and future ideal talent.

Universum Group
Kate Balog