BTEC’s virtual career fairs grow in popularity, benefit students and employers

Attendance now exceeds that at in-person events

Published Mar. 29, 2022

BTEC’s spring virtual career fair, held Feb. 18 in partnership with the university’s Career Development Center, enabled nearly 200 job seekers — the vast majority of them NC State students — to meet with representatives from 36 employers in biomanufacturing and related fields. Participating firms included industry leaders such as Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, and Pfizer. Almost 200 recruiters from the local, national, and international firms represented attended the event, which was open to the general public as well as NC State students.

Virtual career fair flyer
Firms participating in BTEC’s spring career fair appear in registration information about the event.

The center has held its semiannual career fairs virtually since fall 2020, when 124 students and 12 employers participated in the event. Since that first online career fair, the numbers of both students and employers participating have risen steadily and now significantly exceed the numbers who attended BTEC’s pre-pandemic career fairs. During this spring’s event, more than 900 individual meetings were scheduled between students and employers. In addition, selected employers held group sessions for job candidates.

Kelly Laraway, director of Employer Relations for the university’s Career Development Center, indicated this spring saw an unprecedented demand for talent and said, “The spring BTEC Virtual Career Fair was a huge success. It was extremely well attended by both students and employers. Employers were very pleased with the number and the quality of the students they were able to meet with.” According to Ms. Laraway, virtual career fairs benefit employers by enabling them to “connect with students in a cost and time-efficient way and then spend more of their resources on further connecting with first-rate candidates through interviews and extending offers. Getting the best talent right now is challenging, so breaking down barriers for employers is key.”

This assessment is echoed by Meredith Gillespie, a talent acquisition specialist at Sequence Inc., who stated, “We find the BTEC program does a fantastic job of preparing students for working in the biopharma manufacturing industry. Students are engaged and well-prepared…  Typically, our team will speak to 30 to 40+ candidates during the event, and this allows us to better streamline our interview process. From these career fairs, we’ve had numerous interviews, offers, and hires from BTEC, and we’re excited to continue to grow our team.”

Students also offer praise for BTEC’s career fairs. Rachel Gooley, who is pursuing a major in bioprocessing and BTEC’s minor in biomanufacturing, said the center’s career fairs have been an outstanding resource for locating internships and full-time job opportunities. “I have expanded my network significantly and landed my first internship through connecting with recruiters at the fair. The fairs have also been a great way to explore the variety of employers that exist in the RTP area and expand my understanding of available career paths.” A biochemistry major with a BTEC minor, Jasmine Alleyne said, “The BTEC career fairs have directly contributed to me getting my foot in the door and allowed me to get interviews and hired for internships and full-time positions. There is always a wide variety of professions represented, and the virtual platform is highly organized.”

The spring and fall career fairs — along with coaching on networking, resume writing, and interviewing — are part of the array of services BTEC provides to students. Robbie King, who is pursuing BTEC’s graduate certificate in downstream processing, said, “At mid-life, I needed to transition to a new career and chose to re-train at BTEC. The BTEC faculty and support staff really helped me merge my previous career with my new skills and helped me advertise myself to industry. The online career fair was an ideal forum for me to meet employers in a diverse and expanding field to help me find my new career rapidly.”

BTEC’s fall 2022 virtual career fair will take place Friday, Oct. 14, and registration for the event will open this summer. Employers interested in the fall career fair and/or connecting with BTEC may contact Pa Nhia Moore, manager of Student Programs.