Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a cooperative education (co-op) institution that is ranked 11th among top schools for co-op and internship programs by the 2021 U.S. News & World Report. Their co-op program is designed to provide students with career experience that is matched to the student’s field of study. Maria Richart, Director of Career Services and Cooperative Education said that “The key component to making our co-op program work is by giving our coordinators the ability to pre-approve the jobs that students can apply for.” The ability to control and pre-approve jobs became very important to the Richart and her team, particularly in 2020 when their career fairs went 100% virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
RIT’s Office of Career Services usually has two annual career fairs—one in the fall and one in the spring. After switching to Symplicity CSM in the fall of 2020 and learning more about the new Virtual Career Fair offering that just became available to clients in August of that year, RIT took the rest of 2020 to plan for hosting their spring 2021 career fair virtually. “It was very easy to set up for the virtual career fair,” said Lisa Monette, Assistant Director for Major Events, “And the Symplicity support team was incredibly responsive and helpful both pre-event and post-event, as well as during the event. It was so nice to be able to call the support line and immediately get someone who knows the system well and can quickly answer our questions so that the career fair isn’t interrupted.”
“The support we received from Symplicity during our virtual career fair was fantastic! It was great being able to call the support line and get an immediate response.”
Assistant Director for Major Events,
Rochester Institute of Technology
RIT’s Office of Career Services held their spring 2021 virtual career fair on March 25th. There were over 1100 students in attendance with 66 employer representatives that logged in from 30 different companies. “We got great responses from employers! They loved the virtual career fair. From our office’s perspective, we loved the chat activity during the event. That gave me, in real time, the ability to see the numbers in terms of employers online and students in the queue,” Monette stated. Although the number of students and employers participating in the virtual career fair were down compared to RIT’s last in-person spring career fair, Monette and the team were happy with the numbers and overall participation. Monette added, “We were very impressed with over 1100 students coming out to a virtual event. That was part of what we didn’t know what to expect because we weren’t sure if students would be tired of the virtual experience. But we were very surprised and happy with how many students did attend the virtual career fair!” RIT’s Office of Career Services is currently planning to use Symplicity’s Virtual Career Fair for their fall 2021 career fair which will be held in a hybrid format.
While there remains to be a lot of uncertainty when it comes to how career services will look post-pandemic, RIT’s Office of Career Services is planning for virtual career fairs to be the norm for the time being. “Good or bad, I think virtual career fairs are here to stay and I think we’ll continue planning to host them and plan for new ways to utilize them as we become more comfortable,” Monette stated. The support from the Symplicity team continues to be a key component to planning for future virtual career fairs and recommending CSM to other institutions. Richart said, “I have spoken to a few directors at other universities that have reached out to me asking about what platform we use and I have walked them through how we use Symplicity and how it’s been beneficial for us. The attention we receive as current clients alone is the reason to switch to Symplicity.”