— by Naomi Baisa, Class of 2017
It’s cloudy and dreary outside on a Thursday afternoon. Students are walking in the student center, taking the elevator all the way up to the sixth floor.
Right outside the elevator to your right, volunteers greet you at a desk to sign your name and year. You are handed a packet listed with multiple companies. It’s crowded.
Refreshments are available in an open area on the side. Some are sitting by the stage. Some are taking headshots in another area by the restrooms towards the back.
The entire floor has tables lined up in columns, bustling with students and recruiters engaging in conversation.
Every year, Saint Peter’s University holds a Career and Internship Fair for students during the fall semester. This year it was held on October 20 in the Duncan Family Sky Room of the Mac Mahon Student Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with over 50 employers scheduled to attend.
The Center for Career Engagement & Experiential Learning, also known as CEEL, hosted the event along with corporate sponsors, BASF, Enterprise, and Fidelity Investments.
These career fairs allow students to network and to gain exposure to companies before they graduate.
“I didn’t expect a job at an interview, immediately after that,” shares Zakee Conte-Smith.
“It’s not really a disappointment. It’s like a learning experience because right now they’re looking out for internships for juniors but it also gave me the chance to talk to Enzo for job searches,” said the senior.
Speaking to the life science and biotechnology company gave Zakee an opportunity to connect with them.
The September unemployment rate in the United States according to the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey is 5 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that the unemployment rate is 2.5 percent for those who are 25 years and over with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
For Alex Rivera, a graduating student of 2017, she is hoping for plenty of opportunities.
Ever since she was a freshman, she would check out the career fair every year.
“Honestly, it’s okay,” she said. “Because I’m a graphic design major and it’s not really that popular on campus. So when you go around and look, these are all businesses and stuff.”
She believes that most companies only look for business majors and have less need for graphic design majors.
“They reach out to the business side and I’m more like on the publication side,” expressed Alex. “I make the business look good and I don’t have anything to do with the business part.”
Alex also feels that she isn’t needed or that she isn’t a necessity for companies that look for other majors except graphic design.
“I have nothing to do with the business except to make it look pretty,” she remarked. “If you’re a business major just give them your resume and that’s it.”
Although she felt nonchalant about it, she laughed saying, “If you’re not in the business major, just come for the pens. I have downgraded from trying to get a job to trying to get all the pens.”
Coincidentally, one company looking for sociology and psychology students were offering internships for business majors.
“In terms of our internships, we’ll accept business majors, anyone who’s interested in working in an office setting, they’ll get that first hand experience,” said Brian Maia.
The recruiter at Supreme Consultants stated that they have no need for graphic design and computer science majors for now.
A Technical Recruiter from Brooksource understands how Alex feels about find a job in graphic design.
“I actually majored in Visual Communications at the University of South Carolina and some of what that curriculum entailed is photography, graphic design, and web development,” said Mike Lacey.
“I find it very difficult to a secure graphic design position,” he stated.”I understand that some companies only hire for a certain amount of time.”
All hope is not lost yet for those majoring in graphic design or the arts.
“As we continually grow, we are always looking at ideas and hope we can help out,” said the recruiter. “Ultimately, we want to get into the realm of photography and graphic design, and really anything that requires technology and something that’s always evolving and growing.”
Meanwhile other students were faring better.
“They’re very diverse,” said a business major student. “This year it’s more organized and there’s more companies to pick from,” said Mustapha Sarr.
For other students, getting a job is not a priority but slowly transitioning is easier for them.
For Mustapha, who is a senior, he wants to take internships after he graduates because he said that they are more comfortable. When going for an internship, he says that they don’t expect you to know much about how to work and that experience from internships will get you a job from there.
For David Liao, a senior who is a mathematical economics major described the career fair in two words, “Thumbs up.” He had fun talking to multiple employers and seeing what kind of positions he can get in the future.
Kevin Taylor, a senior majoring in biochemistry and biotechnology, found the fair invigorating since he was able to see a lot of things that are helpful after graduation. He expected it to be more hectic and thought students would hog most of their time chatting with recruiters.
Not every student is prepared for the career fair. Some don’t know what they want to do.
Syed Ali, a freshman, stated he wasn’t looking for internships but planned to gain experience for an internship by next year.
FBI Agent, Kelly Blanchfield, was able to relate to students who wanted to explore their career opportunities.
“We understand that students don’t know what they want,” she said. “We were all students, we get, it sucks. It’s more like being open minded and having questions prepared if anything or if you guys want to talk, we’re down for that.”