Construction Industry Career Fair sees big successes with return to in-person

The Myers-Lawson School of Construction’s biannual Construction Industry Career Fair stepped away from the internet and into the Inn at Virginia Tech for its first fair back in person.

The Oct. 28-29 event - spread over two floors - was one of the biggest in the School’s history with nearly 140 companies bringing in around 400 representatives. In a survey following the career fair, students rated the wide range of companies as their favorite element. Many students utilized their time to the fullest - speaking to 10 to 20 companies throughout the day.

“All the companies were very outgoing and wanted to talk to you and learn more about you,” said one student in the survey.

Around 500 students walked through the booth aisles networking and securing internship and job interviews the following day. Sophomore and junior-level students made up the majority of those in attendance, followed closely by seniors. While the fair is open to all students in the University, MLSoC’s majors (Building Construction and Construction Engineering and Management) made up the majority of those who attended.

“The students are world class and are obviously taught well on how to approach and handle a career fair setting,” said one employer in attendance. 

Following the day-long event, students built on their connections and networked with employers during a sponsored social that evening. One student called it the highlight of the two days. The social was sponsored by Branch Group, Martin Horn and SteelFab at the gold level along with Bozzuto, R.W. Murray Co. and Palmisano at the silver level.

The following morning, students and companies returned to the Inn for Interview Day. Dressed to the nines, students waited in the hallway as industry representatives once again filled the first and second floor. This time, students were able to go into greater detail about the skills they have gained during their time at Virginia Tech. Some students had as many as six interviews in one day; many walked away with multiple offers.

“Out of all the career fairs that we attend, Virginia Tech often has the best to offer,” said one recruiter.” We have hired more college recruits out of the Virginia Tech Construction Career Fair than any other university.” 

Ahead of this year’s event, several groups worked to prepare students for what to expect, both from the industry and the Career Fair itself.

Building Women in Construction hosted its annual Industry Panel with Allan Myers, Branch Builds, Brassfield & Gorrie, Bowers, Clark Construction, DPR, Gilbane, JPG Plumbing & Mechanic Services, Inc., Lennar, Limbach, Plano Coudon Construction and Southland participating. Industry leaders talked with students about what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.

The Young Alumni Committee flipped its virtual Industry Speed Dating to an in-person opportunity the night before the Career Fair. Twenty-six industry professionals from Allan Myers, Balfour Beatty, Baker Concrete, Clark Construction, DPR, Harkins, Harvey Cleary, Industrial Project Innovation, KBS, M&E Contractors, Palmisano, Rand*, RK&K, R.W. Murray, Southland Industries, Taylor-Parrish and Whiting-Turner advised students one-on-one.

“Freshman and sophomores were telling me about their nerves for the first career fair of their academic career,” said Derek Krueger, who lead the Young Alumni Committee event. “But many juniors were also asking for tips, as their first career fair (if they went) was as freshmen so this was also essentially their first.”

The next Construction Industry Career Fair will be held on Feb. 22, 2021. Registration opens on November 17, 2021 at 11 a.m.