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University News

Career and Internship Fair Draws Nearly 500 Students

Students connect with local businesses and organizations at successful in-person job-hunting event

Posted in: University

Three women listen as another speaks.
Each year, the Career and Internship Fair brings potential employers to campus to connect with students.

Nearly 500 students and alumni from diverse backgrounds and majors attended this year’s Spring Career and Internship Fair to connect with potential employers and sharpen their networking skills.

The event, hosted by The Center for Career Services in collaboration with all the colleges and schools, featured more than 60 organizations from a variety of industries, including health care, technology, education, law enforcement and business.

Students speaking over a table in a room full of career fair attendees
Some 500 students visited this year’s Career and Internship Fair.

“Our main goal is we hope students find that there are diverse options for jobs and internships and we want them to feel empowered when they’re looking for jobs to get them to a point where they feel comfortable and prepared for the professional world moving on out of school,” said University Career Services Program Associate Jesica Hauser.

As soon as the doors opened on Wednesday, March 16, students flooded into the University’s Conference Center, clutching their resumes and dressed in their finest business attire. The air was charged with excitement and nervous energy, as students navigated the maze of booths and tables, stopping to chat with recruiters and ask questions about job openings and internship programs.

Upon arrival, students and alumni were encouraged to submit their resumes through Handshake, browse the employer list and prepare an elevator pitch to connect with potential employers.

“I think the students seem happy with what we’re offering them. They seem super engaged and we try to encourage that before they come, figure out who they want to target, and have their points ready to go,” Hauser said.

Two men smile at each other.
All smiles at the Career and Internship Fair

For many students, the Career and Internship Fair is a pivotal moment in their academic and professional journeys, offering a glimpse of what lies ahead and a chance to make important connections that could shape their futures.

“This opportunity is very helpful, especially for people who don’t have much experience in the professional field,” said Brandon Rosario, a senior studying Nutrition and Food Science. “When it comes to people in low-income communities like me, I just don’t get enough of that but Montclair offers so much that it’s a little hard to grasp at times and it’s great just to get that stepping stool to professionalism.”

As an extra incentive for students, Career Services hired a photographer to take professional headshots to use for their LinkedIn profiles.

“The photos benefit me and other college students as a whole because something like this I can’t really do at my house. It’s great to have such a professional setup that it just sets me up for success which is honestly the best opportunity,” said participant Jordy Rodriguez.

For Jalisha Vega, a senior majoring in International Business, believes that an in-person career fair makes the job search much simpler.

“Personally, I think just to meet and connect with those hiring in person rather than online is helpful because online sometimes you go through loops, and it can be difficult. The process is long or you might not even get chosen to be interviewed. Here you can make more of a connection, hand them your resume and find out more about the job,” Vega said.

Like Vega, Adam Mayer, the director of University College Career and Academic Programming, also stressed the importance of having an in-person networking event for students.

“Number one is the networking piece so getting face to face with employers without having to interface with an employer through an app, their website or an applicant tracking system. Face-to-face contact, getting business cards and chatting about opportunities continues to be the number one way people get jobs,” Mayer said.

Most of the employers at the fair were looking for career-driven students and alumni who are self-motivated, passionate and eager to learn while helping their company grow. Julieta Bingen works for Integrity House, a nonprofit organization that has helped thousands of people rebuild their lives while recovering from addiction. She described her interest in meeting students and alumni who are eager to learn and grow in their careers.

“We are looking for candidates that seek growth within a company and are looking to gain additional experience in a specific field, such as mental health. When I see a new graduate eager to learn and eager to grow, I feel like companies such as ours can really provide a lot of hands-on experience to help those people achieve their professional goals,” Bingen said.

A man writes on a piece of paper.
Alumni know to recruit at Montclair’s Career and Internship Fair.

Many of the recruiters praised the quality of Montclair students, noting their enthusiasm, preparedness and professional demeanor. Matthew Kyle, a recruiter for The Arc of Essex County, a nonprofit organization that provides services and support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, explained what he looks for in candidates and noted the professionalism of the students he met at the fair.

“We’re really looking for people that have passion, determination and the drive to do the best they can with whatever they’re given and we know that Montclair State students have that,” Kyle said.

Dana Castro is a Montclair alumna who currently works as the assistant property manager at Urby, a real estate development and management company that focuses on building communities and providing more opportunities for residents. Castro expressed her eagerness to network with students at her alma mater.

“A lot of the students here are really driven and really know what they want, or if they don’t, they are always open to looking for something new or exploring their different options which is something I love about coming back here,” Castro said.

Men discuss a flier.
A recruiter hands out information about his company.

As the event concluded, Hauser noted the turnout.

“Our goal is that every year, we want these events to continue to grow and from what I’m seeing, I feel like we’ve really succeeded at that,” said Hasuer.

Students who wish to apply for jobs advertised at the Career and Internship Fair can do so through Handshake.

Story by Rosaria Lo Presti. Photos by John J. LaRosa.