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Letter to the Editor: The Career Expo is not a one-size-fits-all

By Nicole Van Den Heuvel     10/4/22 11:22pm

Editor’s Note: This is a letter to the editor that has been submitted by a member of the Rice community. The views expressed in this opinion are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Thresher or its editorial board. Letters to the editor are fact-checked to the best of our ability and edited for grammar and spelling by Thresher editors. 

The Center for Career Development thanks Wills Rutherford for his time as a Peer Career Advisor at Rice, providing students with career guidance, and we congratulate him on securing his job from the Rice Expo. Responding to his opinion piece, “The Rice career fair fails Rice students,” I’ll elaborate upon the factors employers consider when deciding whether to participate in Rice career expos, the overall recruiting environment and the process Rice students should pursue when seeking employment. 

Rice is an elite school with top talent and employers actively seek to hire our students. These factors alone, however, will not guarantee that employers will spend their time and resources recruiting at Rice. Why aren’t some companies such as Tesla attending career expos? Many factors include the employers’ hiring needs, recruiting resources (people and money), physical location of the employer and Rice, needed skills and competencies, majors, success with past hiring efforts, ability to project hiring needs nine months into the future and size of the student population. For example, UT Austin has over 6.5 times as many students as Rice from which to recruit. Due to physical on-campus space restrictions, we have a waitlist of employers eager to attend every year. This year, for the first time, we offered two consecutive fall expos, an in-person expo and a virtual one. Both were well-attended with 159 employers and 2,589 students. We encouraged students to go to both, as there were different employers attending.



The expo will never meet the needs of every Rice student, nor should it, and we will never have the perfect mix or type of employer to satisfy every student. The expo is but one way to network and secure an internship or employment. Employers recruit in multiple ways including attending expos, conducting campus interviews, recruiting off-campus, hosting information sessions or coffee chats, posting jobs in Handshake, and increasingly more are recruiting virtually. The CCD actively advises employers on their ideal recruiting strategy. Excluding Moderna, who recently connected with us, every employer mentioned in the article has current job postings or active postings in the past 12 months. For example, Tesla currently lists 43 active job postings and had 264 postings for Rice students over the past 12 months.

Students, the best way to secure internships and jobs is through a multi-layered approach. The first is the easiest one: connect with the CCD via a workshop, appointment, drop-in, Peer Career Advisor,or online resources and we can help chart your path. Attend employer information sessions and coffee chats. Connect with employers on Handshake. If you can’t find your targeted employers,  we can connect you with alumni or help you sign up for an externship to gain more knowledge and contacts. It’s exciting to think about the many possibilities and career options ahead of you. The world needs your talent and we look forward to helping you find and make your place in the world.



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