Students of all majors attended the Fall Career Fair on Sept. 18 to network with potential employers and get a hands-on experience rather than relying on e-mails.
Since 2009, the fair has provided Seton Hall Students with opportunities to become acquainted with the heads of dozens of companies. This year over 80 companies were in attendance, a significant increase from previous years’ employer attendance.
Participants in the fair and similar events develop skills that are useful in a competitive job market including expanding their networking circles and strengthening public presentation and speaking skills.
As an alternative to digital correspondence, the fair encouraged students to practice both relieving nerves and engaging directly with the decision-makers. “Applying online seems so impersonal,” said Jackson-Robertson. “[The goal] here is to have a face, to go with the company, and to put a personal touch to it.”
“When you email something you’re just throwing out your resume to thousands of different people. When we see them and put a face to them its more effective,” said Kevin Milgraum, a Marcus & Millichap representative. “You meet some people and it becomes all relative. You can really sense motivation as opposed to someone who comes in and pitches you something that they’ve been practicing over and over again. It’s something that sounds a little more genuine.”
Proper presentation and eloquence does not come naturally to everyone. Students are encouraged to develop these skills by having first-hand interactions at events like the Career Fair.
“A freshman could come up to me right now and it could go awfully,” said Ben Del Mauro, a Prudential representative. “But they learn from it, so it can’t hurt.”
Students were able to network easily in the Regan Field House. Many different types of businesses, from accounting firms to the PeaceCorps, interviewed students at tables.
“[The hardest part] is actually starting the process,” said freshman Caroline Strickland. “It’s going up and saying, ‘Hi, how are you. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.’ Actually getting face-to-face and looking someone in the eye is a bit scary in this day and age but it’s important. It’s more important than an email and it’s certainly more fulfilling when you get it right.”
Students who demonstrate successful communication and leave an impactful first impression could make a significant influence on prospective employers.
“I’m looking for people who are just as informed as me, [people] who’ve done their research,” said Balazs Francsics, a graduate assistant in the office of graduate admissions. “You don’t just walk up to people asking what can be done for them or what they can do for me. I want them to interview me as much as I would them.”
To help ease the transition, some Seton Hall alumni formed a volunteer group called ‘Pirate Mentors,’ who assist students by listening and responding to pitches, giving general interview advice and assuaging nerves.
“It makes me very proud and happy to see the type of support that they're providing for students,” said Daniel Giovinetto, a 1980 graduate.
The Career Center posts frequently on twitter (@shuCareerCenter) and is anxious to hear students’ opinions.
Anna Griffin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.