NJIT Students for Hire: Spring Career Fair Attracts 125 Companies
Some 125 companies will attend NJIT’s spring career fair, and most of are coming with the intent to hire, says Gregory Mass, the executive director of the university’s Career Development Services (CDS) office.
“Given the economic recession, that’s an incredible number of companies signed up for the fair,” said Mass.
More than 1,000 students have already registered for the March 11 career fair, added Mass, and some 1,500 students are expected to visit the fair – a record for attendance. Company recruiters will staff tables in the Campus Center Atrium and the gym. The fair runs from 12:30 to 5 p.m. and is open to students and recent graduates from other colleges.
The companies at the fair have recruiting interests that align nicely with NJIT’s majors such as engineering, computer science, architecture, math, science, liberal arts and management.
“Although according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers the hiring of college graduates will be down 22 percent this spring,” said Mass, “our graduates have technical and scientific talents that gives them an edge. That’s why despite current economic conditions NJIT grads are still sought after by major corporations.”
Mass cautioned students to come to the career fair prepared. His office’s website lists the companies attending the fair, along with job openings. Students should research the employers and make a list of six to ten companies whose tables they’d like to visit. Students should also make sure that their skills match the job qualifications listed by a company.
“You shouldn’t come to the career fair and float from table to table,” Mass said. “You should come with a target list of companies whose job openings match your skills.”
Students who haven’t yet registered for the career fair should do so, said Mass. Registered students receive regular emails offering career advice. He also encourages students to visit the Career Development Services (CDS) office, which helps students improve their resumes, interviewing and job searching skills. Recently, his office invited six employers to conduct on-campus mock interviews with students, after which students were told what they did right and wrong. His office also hosts Alumni Network Days (one is scheduled for April 1), during which NJIT graduates help current students network and find jobs.
Students will need to call upon all of the above-mentioned skills – a good resume, good interviewing and networking skills – when it comes time for them to visit a recruiter at the career fair: For lines will be long and each student will only have five minutes to impress a recruiter.
“A good handshake and good eye communication is a good start,” said Mass. “Then you must show them you’ve researched their company and explain to them how your strengths -- your good grades or your research and job experience, your technical or scientific skills -- matches what they are looking for in a job candidate. You must also be enthusiastic and articulate and personable. If you do all that in five minutes, you’ll eventually find a job.”
Mass recalled Chris Sakowski, an NJIT student who graduated last year and works now as a systems engineer for BAE Systems, the aerospace firm. Before attending last spring’s career fair, Chris researched BAE and its job openings. When it came time for him to approach the BAE recruiter, Chris told him about his grades (3.9 GPA), his Honors College classes, his long-time love of electronics and engineering and his more recent interest in aerospace technology. He also told the recruiter about his senior research project, in which he used software programs to simulate how to control a crane. After five minutes, Chris left the recruiter his resume, not really expecting to hear back from him. Two weeks later, though, the recruiter called and invited Chris in for an interview and to give a presentation about his research to a panel of BAE managers.
Chris’s presentation and interview went so well that BAE not only hired him but told him he qualified for a special BAE Leadership Development Program that grooms engineers to be managers.
“I went to the career fair thinking there was a lot of students there and maybe nothing would come out of it,” said Chris. “But my whole future came out of it. I’m really grateful to NJIT for having career fairs. It really shows how much NJIT cares about its students.”
(by Robert Florida, University Web Services)