Letter to Editor: On-campus job fairs promote career diversity

The Daily Trojan recently published an op-ed written by Ramona Amely, titled, “On-Campus Job Fairs Lack Career Diversity.” The writer addressed a concern with the variety of employers that recruit on campus. On behalf of the USC Career Center, I would like to describe the range of employers that recruit our Trojans through our on-campus recruiting events.   

USC has a robust and decentralized network of career services: The central Career Center serves all USC students and alumni while our school-based career services offices serve school-specific populations. Each year the Career Center, along with the school-based career services offices, offers an abundance of on-campus recruiting events, services and programs designed to provide students with ample opportunities to meet, network and engage with a variety of employers.  

The Career Center offers two general career fairs each academic year (fall and spring) that are open to all USC students and alumni, which are broad in the scope of participating industries. During our Fall 2019 Career Fair, we had more than 200 employers participate, representing more than 20 different industries, such as accounting, advertising, architecture, banking, computer science, consulting, education, fashion, government, health/medicine, insurance, marketing, real estate and technology. 

The Career Center also hosts Investigate Internships and Industries each semester covering a range of industries, such as Entertainment, TV and Sports; Policy, Sustainability and Transportation; and Healthcare, Biotechnology and Sciences.  Additionally, the Career Center oversees our USC China Career Services office, which provides opportunities for students at many of the top organizations in China through several summer and winter career fairs in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. As such, “on campus” is not just limited to the University Park or Health Sciences campuses; our students are able to meet with employers across the country and globally.  

Because there is such a range of how and where employers recruit Trojans, we cannot conclude a lack of variety among the employers that recruit on campus based on a single career fair. (We are still in the midst of inviting employers to participate in the upcoming Spring Career Fair on Feb. 6.) Another great advantage that USC students have are the school-based career services offices’ industry-specific career fairs and other on-campus recruiting events that augment the variety of USC’s employers. 

The school-based career services offices host industry-specific on-campus events, which are often limited to students at their school. For example, Viterbi School of Engineering hosts two large tech career fairs each academic year for our engineering students. School of Cinematic Arts also offers two career fairs every academic year with wide-ranging entertainment companies. Netflix, Hulu, Pixar, Warner Bros. Pictures, ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Paramount, Universal, Sony, Youtube, Buzzfeed and Google Creative Lab are some of the employers that recruit through Cinematic Arts. Furthermore, they offer many other events where their students can meet with employers (e.g., monthly career talks, the “First Jobs” program, “Talent Week,” etc.).  

Since USC hosts so many different recruiting events, employers from certain industries may be more inclined to attend the niche school-based career fairs depending on the targeted skill sets and experiences that they are seeking in candidates. For example, certain tech companies will recruit only through a Viterbi-sponsored career fair because they are exclusively hiring computer science majors. Nevertheless, the Career Center hosts many tech employers in our career fairs (there were 40 at the Fall Career Fair) because employers see the benefit of recruiting at events that draw from the vast array of our student talent; our larger events also attract the highest number of students.  

As another example, most accounting firms, especially the Big Four, will participate in Leventhal’s “Meet the Firms” and will not attend the Career Center’s career fairs.  However, these firms participate in the Career Center’s On-Campus Recruiting Program because Leventhal does not conduct an OCR program. This highlights that different employers choose to participate in various Career Center and school-based events.

The Career Center devotes significant time and effort to connect with and outreach to employers to meet the varied career interests of all of our students. We also host career fairs targeted to specific student populations, including the International Students Career Fair, Veterans and Military Families Recruiting Night and “Diversity Meet-and-Greet” because we deeply value the diversity among our students. Thus, we strongly encourage each student to explore all the career resources available from the Career Center as well as the school-based career services offices. Fight On!

Jennifer H. Kim

Director of Employer Relations and Research

USC Career Center

Division of Student Affairs