Tampa Bay employers are joining businesses across the state and nation in a unique and exciting college career fair for students from Southwest Florida.
The Cross College Alliance (CCA) Reverse Career Fair — a fully virtual and free event — will be held Wednesday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on the online networking platform Remo.
Local employers can participate by signing up at the Handshake career platform and then by visiting the “Reverse Career Fair” page.
Dozens of students from the University of South Florida, New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida and will be on hand during this unique networking opportunity.
Unlike traditional career fairs, “reverse career fairs” allow students to interview potential employers — not the other way around – so they can better control the direction of their careers.
The event features a range of top-performing students handpicked for their abilities, educational specialties and internship and job experiences. Employers, in turn, can review students’ resumes beforehand to decide which ones meet their criteria.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers has recognized the Reverse Career Fair for its effectiveness in connecting students and employers. Launched at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus in November 2018, the job-matching program has since expanded to involve colleges across the region.
“The Reverse Career Fair has received national awards and attention and is a fine example of USF’s commitment to student career development and selection,” said Brett Kemker, vice provost and regional vice chancellor at the Sarasota-Manatee campus.
Dwayne Peterson, director of New College’s Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO), said of the event: “At a regular career fair, by happenstance, the right student might come to an employer’s table, or, in many cases, recruiters leave without any good candidates.
“From an employer’s perspective, this year’s reverse career fair offers a guaranteed return on investment because recruiters can target and meet talented candidates with diverse interests (and educational backgrounds) that specifically align with their hiring needs – all in an interactive, virtual environment,” he said.
USF is among the many institutions impressed by reverse career fairs. At its first fair at the Sarasota-Manatee campus four years ago, 82 percent of students emerged from the event with a job or internship offer.
Leveraging the Cross College Alliance – a consortium of local colleges that includes USF – the fair’s participating employers gained a wider, potentially more diverse pool from which to recruit talent.
The fair transitioned to a virtual format in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it continued to earn positive reviews. Last year, 96 percent employers reported they would participate in the fair again, with 74 percent saying they were able to connect with students for possible jobs and internships.
Employers can register for the Cross College Alliance Reverse Career Fair at Handshake.
For more information, or questions, contact Career Services Advisor Antonia Ripo at firstname.lastname@example.org.