NJIT Students in High Demand: Nearly 200 Employers Competing for Talent at the Spring Career Fair

NJIT students are in high demand once again during the Spring 2014 Career Fair.

The Spring Career Fair is the largest ever, with 180 employers and 350 recruiters coming to recruit students for full-time jobs, summer internships and co-ops.

It’s the largest career fair also in terms of attendance, with 2,400 students and alumni registered for the fair, scheduled for Wednesday, March 5, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. To accommodate the 350 recruiters, the fair will be held in two locations: the Fleisher Athletic Center and the Naimoli Athletic Center.

Among the 180 organizations registered to attend the fair is Seattle-based Amazon Corp., a first-time attendee. Other industry leaders that will attend include AT&T, Johnson &Johnson, Prudential and Verizon. NJIT has the majors most in demand by employers, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New Jersey Division of Labor and Workforce Development.

This spring, employers are especially interested in hiring students who major in information technology, computer science and engineering, says Gregory Mass, executive director of  Career Development Services, which hosts the fair. There’s also a dramatic rise in the demand for architecture students, he says.

During the fair, employers will interview May graduates for full-time jobs but also interview underclassmen for internships and co-op jobs (co-ops are longer internships where students receive academic credit and compensation).

“Perhaps the most significant hiring trend this year is the increasing demand for interns and co-op students,” says Mass. “In addition to recruiting near graduates, close to 70 percent of the employers coming to the fair are seeking students for summer and fall internships.”

Employers have also expressed a keen interest in connecting with student leaders. Therefore, the Career Center will once again host its pre-career brunch for company representatives and students who belong to professional associations. Among the student groups participating will be The Society of Women Engineers, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, The National Society of Black Engineers and The Association for Computing Machinery.

Career fairs are an effective way for students to find jobs. Last year, 15 percent of NJIT’s May 2013 graduates reported finding jobs through the career fairs. Hundreds of underclassmen, moreover, found internships and co-ops at the fairs. Internships, moreover, often lead to the coveted prize: a full-time job offer.

“I often speak with parents of students about career planning and they inevitably ask me if NJIT will help their children get internships,” says Mass. “The answer is yes, and I might add that unlike students from some other universities our students are well paid for their internships, which helps keep them out of debt. Employers value the technological skills our students possess.”

Student Intern: Nida Riaz

Consider, for instance, Nida Riaz, a junior majoring in chemical engineering. A year and a half ago, she attended her first career fair. She was inexperienced and wasn’t sure anything would come of it. Before the fair, she visited the Career Center to have her resume reviewed and to work on her 30-second elevator pitch, where you learn to encapsulate your strengths quickly.

That increased her confidence, and during the fair she spoke to recruiters from six companies. Things went well, but in the weeks following the fair she heard nothing. Soon, though, she received an email from a recruiter from Infineum. The recruiter offered her a co-op working as a project engineer at Infineum, an oil-additive manufacturing company. She took the job and excelled in it. 

Then, in the spring of 2013, ready for another internship, she attended that season’s career fair.  With co-op experience now on her resume, she had confidence. She spoke with representatives from six major companies including J&J and Colgate. But in the end she took a co-op offer from cosmetics giant L’Oreal, where she worked as a chemist in the cosmetic unit. Still eager for more work experience, she attended the 2013 fall fair, where she interviewed with Merck, the giant pharmaceutical company.  She was not only offered an internship but Merck also gave her a $5,000 scholarship to help her pay tuition.

“I’ve gotten two co-ops and now an internship and a scholarship from Merck," says Nida, who is due to graduate in 2015. “I’ve never worked in the pharmaceutical industry and I’m really grateful for that opportunity. The Career Development Center does a great job in hosting the career fairs and I’m grateful for all I’ve gotten out of the fairs.”

An Internship Turned into a Great Job

Michael Louie, a recent graduate who majored in business, agrees with Nida. He, too, has benefitted from attending the career fairs. In the fall of 2011, when he was a sophomore, he went to his first career fair. His resume was vacant: He had zero work experience. Nonetheless he met that day with 15 company recruiters.  He was about to leave the fair but noticed the Verizon logo at the end of a row of employer tables.

He waited his turn and gave the recruiter his 30-second elevator pitch. In the wake of the fair, he heard nothing back from Verizon. Then, a month later, he received an email from Verizon, requesting a phone interview, which led to an in-person interview at Verizon’s headquarters in Basking Ridge. A week later, he received a call offering him a summer internship. He worked that summer in Verizon’s supply chain division. He must have done well, because Verizon invited him back for a second internship this past summer. He did well and in late September he received a call from Verizon offering him the coveted prize: a full-time job. He’s been working there full-time now for a few months and loves it. 

“Going to the career fair was a life-changing event for me,” says Michael. “A career fair allows you to get your foot in the door by talking one-on-one with recruiters.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. I have a great job that I love. What’s better than that?”

(By Robert Florida)