Cold weather, football games, and Starbuck’s pumpkin spice drink series are all indicators that fall has begun. Another of these fall traditions is the Seton Hall Career Fair. On Thursday, September 21st, the most recent version of this event took place. The Career Fair provides so many opportunities and connection points for students and employers.
For students, they have the chance to showcase their experience, skills, and personality to potential employers for both internship and full-time opportunities. The employers, which numbered over 100, come from a wide array of sectors seeking a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels. This variety served the hundreds of attending students, who likewise are all searching for different things. Some are younger students getting much needed practice on their personal elevator pitches or are just seeking more info as they plan their future. Others are looking to make a great first impression on the recruiter for a job they have been eying for years. Still others are freshly minted graduates that are searching, perhaps desperately, for an opportunity to kick start their career. Whichever stage of career seeking a given student or recent graduate is in, hundreds came dressed in their suit jackets and pant suits to wade through cramped Bethany Hall.
So, what are these employers looking for in possible candidates? What should students focus on if they hope to be competitive candidates? Like the variety already touched upon in this article, the answers vary.
For the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit organization that aids refugees from around the world, they are looking specifically for unpaid interns who are willing to help the vulnerable. The organization stated that there are very few full-time positions available and are really looking for high energy students willing to offer their time and talents in the present on a part-time basis.
Similarly, the Federal Bureau of Investigations was also on a hunt for interns over full-time professionals but gave different reasoning. As the premier law enforcement agency in the country, they are inundated with applications every year from students and working professionals so, there are limited places for a fresh grad to make an impact. That’s why they were pushing their highly competitive internship program to slowly get students with potential in the door as they complete their studies. For the few students selected, they have a slightly increased chance to come on full-time after gaining more experience.
Other organizations are looking for students to come on full-time as entry level employees. A sister federal agency to the FBI but with vastly different fortunes, Customs and Border Protection were looking for Border Agents to begin as soon as possible. With an influx of illegal immigrants, the current employees of this Department of Homeland Security offshoot are overwhelmed and understaffed. In response they have increased their marketing and, in some underserved areas, are offering a signing bonus of $10,000 to sign a two-year commitment in those specific offices.
The Princeton Child Development Institute, a facility to care for autistic children, is also desperately looking for full-time staff. This organization is not looking to return to full staff but rather to grow to new heights. It is a relatively small company and as autism continues to impact the youth of tomorrow, it has high hopes of growing. That’s why recruiters are looking for not only the traditionally viewed majors for the industry such as psychology, education, or social work. Rather they are open to students from communication, biology, or even business, to name a few.
While different employers are looking for different skillsets, the qualities that they look for in a potential new hire are largely the same. Some common themes were open-mindedness, energy, and humility. Big 4 accounting firm KPMG values innovation and excellence. They are looking for the student who “asks too many questions” and is always ready to volunteer for a new challenge. A similar response from perhaps a dissimilar source was from Americorps, the self-described “Peace Corp for the U.S.”, who place young people who essentially volunteer for the experience across the country to teach and help in the community. The recruiters said being open to learning from the community members you serve requires a student to do a ton of listening and be optimistic in the face of challenges along the way.
Whether a student is looking for more information or their first real job, it is important to understand the jobs available, what skills are being requested, and where they individually fit into that picture. In this way, the job market is much like any economy. That’s why events like the Career fair are essential for the thousands of eager Setonian job seekers who cycle through every year. Hopefully, our students, no matter what their stage in life, were able to get a better picture of what their life after school would be like.
Contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org