NJIT hosts its largest ever career fair, with 175 companies coming to hire students and alumni.
The Career, Co-op and Internship Fair will also be the largest in terms of attendance: more than 2,000 students and alumni will attend the fair, which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. The fair will be held in two locations: the Fleisher Athletic Center and the Naimoli Athletic Center.
The majors offered at NJIT are those sought by employers. And this year, the majors in most demand are computer-related fields such as computer science, information technology and computer engineering, says Gregory Mass, executive director of the Career Development Services (CDS) office.
“Computers are used in every business, every industry and every field,” says Mass, “so once again computing majors are in high demand. But we’re seeing an uptick in demand for engineering and business management majors.”
Recruiters will interview May graduates for full-time jobs. But they also want to interview underclassmen, including freshmen and sophomores, for internships and co-ops. “A co-op is an ultimate internship,” says Mass. A co-op is like an internship but often lasts longer -- three to eight months -- and students get credit for their work. Increasing numbers of first-and-second year students want to work internships and co-ops. And companies want to hire NJIT students since they have cutting-edge technological and problem-solving skills.
“While the trend nationally is for students to work as unpaid interns,” says Mass. “That’s not so at NJIT. Employers value the technological skills our students possess and pay them appropriately.”
The CDS office works hard to help students find jobs. Each year, the office hosts two career fairs. Last year, 17 percent of NJIT’s May 2012 graduates reported finding jobs through the career fairs. CDS career counselors also ensure that students have good resumes and interviewing skills.
CDS maintains close ties with major employers. Each week, CDS posts about 100 new job listings on its jobs database: CDS Online. Counselors also host on-campus recruiting days, where employers come to campus to interview students. Most of those on-campus interviews translate into job offers.
Employers increasingly expect graduating students to have work experience, says Mass. And the best way to get experience is through co-ops and internships. Students get many things out of co-ops and internships. They get to work in their field and see if they like it. They are paid well -- an average of $15 to $25 dollars an hour -- which reduces their debt. And when students succeed in co-ops/internships, employers often hire them for a second summer and, after they graduate, as full-time employees. In the end, it all comes down to getting work experience.
Take, for instance, Katherine Joseph, a senior majoring in Construction Management Technology. She was offered several summer internships over the last two years. But she chose to intern at Hensel Phelps Construction Co., based in Dallas and Washington, D.C. During two summer internships at Hensel she worked in both cities: first on the renovation and expansion of Dallas Love Field Airport. And in Washington D.C. she worked on the Marriott Marquis Convention Center and Hotel.
“On both projects I gained invaluable hands-on experience, more than a college graduate in an entry level job would likely get,” says Joseph.
Joseph will be the student speaker during the employer’s lunch that precedes the career fair. She’ll discuss the value of internships as well as the importance of being a student leader. At NJIT, she is president of the student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and was co-captain of the Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Engineers. She is also an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student.
Joseph is a perfect example of what students should do to make themselves marketable in today’s competitive job market, says Mass.
“Students must get involved on campus, get good grades, take on leadership roles and get work experience," Mass adds. “Employers want to hire students who have job experience and employers at the fair will look to hire interns and co-ops. That’s a great opportunity for our students -- a great way for them to jumpstart their careers.”