2,740 Students, Over 200 Employers Attend Biggest Career Fair in NJIT History

The 2016 Fall Career Fair goes down in history as NJIT's largest, with over 200 employing organizations and 2,740 students and recent alums in attendance.

Record Attendance

Highlanders—suited and booted with resumes and CVs in hand—turned out in record numbers Sept. 28 to network with employers at NJIT’s 2016 Fall Career Fair.

With over 200 employing organizations and 2,740 students and recent alums in attendance, the fair has gone down in history as NJIT’s largest, and coincides with national trends, which suggest that college graduate hiring is on the upswing for the sixth consecutive year.

“This is a strong indication that NJIT is doing the right things in preparing our students and graduates for workplace entry,” said Greg Mass, executive director of NJIT’s Career Development Services (CDS), which organized the historic event.

Cisco, Panasonic, ADP and Johnson & Johnson were just a few of the companies in the athletic center with the longest lines of students patiently waiting to discuss career prospects.

“I want a position where I can coordinate projects and help to improve systems,” said Christan Ndubuisi ’16, an engineering management major from Nigeria. “I see a couple of companies that I’m really interested in.”

Many of the students said they took the time to research the companies beforehand to see which would be a good fit.

“I like coming to the career fairs because I like trying to sell Turner to the students,” said Stacie Faber of Turner Construction, which showed up to fill an assistant field engineer position. “We’re in a day and age now where the students have a little bit more availability to pick and choose where they want to go. So it’s as much about us selling to the students as it is the students selling themselves to us.”

Widespread Industry Representation

Employers from across multiple industries were on hand to recruit from a wide-range of majors. Eighty percent of the employers had been to previous NJIT career fairs, but there were also some first-time attendees like HBO, T-Mobile and Jet.com, one of the fastest growing and most innovative e-commerce companies in the country.

“Our strategic employer development plans are intended to target employers whose recruiting interests are aligned with the majors and occupational interests of the majority of NJIT students. We definitely attained this objective,” said Mass, adding that in addition to engineering, there was also a strong showing of employers seeking students with computer science, information technology, architecture and design, business management, applied math and science and communication backgrounds. “It was our goal to ensure that every NJIT student had opportunities for career employment, co-op and or internships experiences—and we were able to accomplish this.”

Engineering management major Christan Ndubuisi ’16 (left) met with Stacie Faber (right) about an assistant field engineer position at Turner Construction.

Gauging Effectiveness

“Let me tell you how important career fairs are to NJIT students,” said Mass. “According to our May 2016 graduates first destination employment and graduate school report, 20 percent of our B.S. grads and 23 percent of our M.S. grads reported having their full-time job offers linked to our career fairs. That’s a phenomenal percentage.”

The entire CDS staff spent an extraordinary amount of time this year working with the students to ensure that they were prepared to meet the employers.  “We survey our employers to determine how well our students do in presenting themselves and their qualifications,” said Mass. “These comprehensive results are forthcoming, but anecdotally our employer exit polls from the fair indicate that our students were very well prepared.”

A Handy New Technology     

In preparation for the fair, CDS rolled out a brand-new product that was designed entirely within the career center called Career Fair Navigator. It’s a mobile website that contains all of the participating employers, their recruiting interests, and career fair day table location. It allows students to search employers by majors and the types of jobs offered. Job seekers can create targeted lists of those employers best aligned with their own career interests, which makes the career fair experience a much more efficient process for the students. The navigator also contains general announcements and career fair tips.

“We beta tested CFN at the spring fair, took what we learned and made multiple modifications, including adding real-time push out notifications,” said Mass. “We widely promoted CFN weeks before the fair and our students began using it well in advance of and during the fair. We suspect it was a primary reason that our students were better prepared to meet employers.”

The Reverse Fair

Before the career fair, CDS held a luncheon for the 350 recruiters. The lunch program included the annual reverse career fair, featuring tables staffed by 20 professional student organizations. “The idea is to create a forum that enables our top employers to meet and form productive relationships with the leaders of our top student organizations,” said Mass.

Although the career fair was a huge success, “We regularly inform our students that increased job opportunities will not automatically result in higher employment,” said Mass. “The job market, while fertile, is still incredibly competitive.”

Job offers to recent college graduates, said Mass, have become increasingly dependent upon candidates who possess previous related work experience gained through co-op and internships, and competency in technical and managerial skills that relate to success on the job.

“We encourage students to become proactive job searchers, and to take full advantage of the multiple resources offered through CDS, and throughout NJIT to build effective networks that can help them get a jump-start on their career goals.”

By Shydale James
sjames@njit.edu