Tables Turn at Reverse Career Fair

by Kelly Clisham
students at the reverse career fair

Some students at Wilkes flipped the traditional career fair dynamic on Tuesday, April 30, at the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership’s Reverse Career Fair, held in the Jean and Paul Adams Commons.

While a traditional career fair involves students approaching employers to learn about what job opportunities each company has available, the reverse career fair allowed students to showcase what they have to offer to the companies. This involved students presenting their own projects, while employers visited students to observe and further discuss their work. 

The event was organized by students enrolled in this semester’s 400-level Personal and Professional Development (PPD) course. The four-credit PPD program, embedded in the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership’s curriculum, allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world professional experiences.   

some of the crowd at the reverse career fair
Some of the crowd at the reverse career fair

Bridget Turel, director of professional development and external engagement, explains she had three goals for students participating in the reverse career fair: to build a professional network, to investigate professional opportunities and to develop professional communication skills.

“This is the capstone professional development experience for our students,” explained Turel. “They can put all of their skills and abilities into practice, as they perfect their professional communication and networking skills.”

This is not the first reverse career fair held by the Sidhu School. In fall of 2023, the school held a reverse career fair where students presented to Wilkes board members and alumni. This year, students will be presenting to employers from around the region.

Several students who participated in the reverse career fair last fall, including senior marketing major Chad Mercado, had such a great experience that they decided to participate again this semester.

“Last year’s reverse career fair was an excellent opportunity to get real experience talking to alumni who were interested in what our experiences are as current Wilkes students,” said Mercado. “I treated these conversations as an opportunity to become more experienced communicating with professionals in our area, as well as a chance to begin building my own personal brand of my experiences.” This year gave Mercado a chance to have conversations with employers and showcase the experiences and knowledge he developed since last year.

Many students plan to use the reverse career fair as an opportunity to network with employers and seek out job opportunities. “Since I am looking for employment post graduation, I included my resume, interest in areas of work, and how my several years of retail experience will help me excel in certain jobs,” says senior business management major Brian Guzman.

Junior business management major Jessica Demming similarly believes participating in the fair “can open many doors for future job opportunities.”

Students interacting with industry guests

Not only did the inverted format of the reverse career fair allow students to highlight the unique skills and knowledge they could bring to a company, but it also gave employers a chance to identify individuals who seem to be a good fit for their particular company.

“Finding talent that fits well in a company culture is a challenge for any company,” said Charles Copley, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Golden Technologies. “By attending this event, I expect to be able to meet talented, hardworking, creative individuals who want to make a difference on my team. The event allows for the students to demonstrate their creativity, their interests and talents in a special way a resume alone can’t accomplish.”

In addition to recruiters from Golden Technologies, representatives from Mondelez International, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, and over 20 other businesses attended. Around 40 students participated in the fair.

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