During the 2016-17 academic year, nearly 3,000 students attended DePaul's job and internship fairs hosted by the Career Center. Standing by at these fairs to answer questions, work with employers and help connect students with career opportunities is Jameson Dixon, Jr.
Since fall 2016, Dixon has lent his expertise to DePaul's Career Center and students as the job fair and events manager. Every day, Dixon works to develop job fairs and career events tailored to current industry trends and DePaul students' needs and interests.
"So much work happens before and after, but fair days are my favorite," Dixon says. "There's nothing better than seeing our students dressed to impress, confident in their experience and making meaningful connections with future employers."
Each year, the Career Center typically hosts between five and seven free job fairs and countless career events. Employers from various industries across Chicago and beyond visit DePaul in search of candidates to fill internships, and part- or full-time positions. Students can attend to simply learn about companies, distribute their resumes or even have job interviews on the spot. Nearly 800 students attended the fall 2017 job fair.
"Every year we work with anywhere from 200 to 290 employers," Dixon says. "We usually have several hundred students attend each event. So when it's time for a fair or event, it's all hands on deck for Career Center staff."
Though career services, fairs and events used to be the most common way students got information about employers and jobs, Dixon notes this no longer is the case. The development of technology, social media and other digital platforms has changed the way employers search for candidates and how students look for career opportunities and information.
"A good portion of my job is analyzing industry trends and developing ways to adapt our programs to best reach students in a digital age," Dixon says. "Job fairs are now just one piece to the puzzle. In addition to fairs, our office hosts career readiness events each year. Coupled with job fairs, these events are one of the best ways for students to develop meaningful connections with employers. Beyond fairs and events, our office is always looking to collaborate with other departments and student organizations to help facilitate the connection between students and employers."
Though the way information is shared and received is ever evolving, Dixon credits DePaul's reputation for why students and employers alike continue to participate in the job fairs and events.
"In Chicago and across the nation, there is a base set of employers dedicated to this university and its graduates - they know they're getting top talent when they hire from us, so they keep coming back," Dixon says. "What's better is our students don't coast on that notion. They continue to put in hard work and prove they're the best candidates. Quarter after quarter I'm impressed by what students bring to the table and how they continue to build upon DePaul's reputation for excellence."