On February 26th of 2020, over 450 motivated Merrimack College students flocked to the MultiPurpose Room in the Sakowich Campus Center for the highly anticipated annual Spring Internship & Career Fair in pursuit of their next career development opportunity. The event set a new record for the college as the most-attended career fair to date, with a 50% increase in student attendance compared to the Spring Internship & Career Fair of 2019. Upwards of 89 employers and recruiters in attendance offered opportunities for students of all majors and class years to explore open internships, co-ops, and full-time positions and create connections for the further advancement of their career development. With companies representing the fields of finance and accounting, non-profit, marketing, engineering, education, and several others, students enjoyed the abundance of available opportunities that met each of their distinct career interests.
Prepared students arrived dressed in their best professional attire with resumes in tow, ready to put their networking skills and professional pitches to the test as they navigated their way throughout the fair. The O’Brien Center for Career Development presented students with the option to obtain student business cards outside of the MultiPurpose Room in order for students to further exchange their information with employers and inform them of their interest. Animated conversation reverberated throughout the room as employers, recruiters, and students alike sought to learn about and connect with one another and broaden their professional networks.
Several of the employers in attendance made note of the enthusiasm, conscientiousness, and professionalism of the students circulating throughout the fair. Talent & Development Associate at UP Education Network Jack Ferguson particularly expressed his appreciation of the exuberance of the students in attendance, stating, “[my co-worker at UP Education Network and I] can see how excited all the students are to be here [at the fair], and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see folks that actually want to be here and aren’t afraid to show that they’re interested.” Ferguson further praised the zeal of the students’ desire to gain hands-on experience in the working world and discover the various opportunities available to them. “From the minute we walked in the door, we were blown away,” Ferguson comments. “All the students here are so prepared with resumes, references – everyone’s just ready to go. You can see that [the students] have such a hunger and want to get into the workplace and get that vital experience, and that they’re ready to get in there and get going as soon as possible. It’s so exciting and refreshing for us to see.” Within the first few hours of the fair, Ferguson already observed approximately fifteen students who impressed him enough to serve as potential candidates to fill open internship positions within UP Education Network.
Black Diamond Networks representatives Summer Olson, Talent Acquisition Specialist, and Jade Lomanno, Talent Acquisition Associate, additionally found the students in attendance to exceed their expectations. Lomanno observed the preparedness of students and their display of knowledge about the various companies at the fair. “[The students Summer and I have met so far] all knew so much about [Black Diamond Networks],” Lomanno expressed. “We’ve noticed that they’ve all done their research, which is really impressive. It’s certainly okay if we meet students who don’t really know about our company, but it definitely stands out to us and really helps to make conversation flow a bit better when a student shows genuine interest in and knowledge about the company and what the company does.” Both Lomanno and Olson, like Ferguson, maintained that they had met several exceptional students that may serve as candidates for open positions at Black Diamond Networks.
Lomanno and Olson further insisted the importance for students to attend on-campus events such as the Spring Internship & Career Fair, and offered their advice for any hesitant students looking to activate their own career potential. Lomanno encourages students to take advantage of every chance they receive to explore their career options, particularly through career events. “It’s so important for students to be proactive rather than reactive in their job or internship search,” Lomanno begins. “Start your search as early as possible. You’re not supposed to know what you want to do yet, so now is the time to explore!” Olson added to Lomanno’s guidance, imparting upon students an analogy for the career search. “Finding the right job for you is like peeling an onion,” Olson explains. “Any job or internship could have layers to it that you’ll like and others you won’t like, and figuring out those layers will help you to mold the future of your career. Coming to events like [the Spring Internship & Career Fair] helps you to start that process early and progress it even further.”
While several employers made note of their positive impressions, the students in attendance additionally conveyed their enjoyment of the various companies and overall experience of the Spring Internship & Career Fair. Civil engineering major Brian Colleoni-Pimenta, Class of 2021, detailed his own experience finding unexpected opportunities that he may not have discovered otherwise had he not attended the fair. “Even though I’m a civil engineering major, I actually made a connection with Talent Retriever,” Colleoni-Pimenta comments, “where I might be a fit for a recruiting internship position because of my internship for the Get Hired Up program with the O’Brien Center for Career Development, and because of my passion to help others find their own career interests.” Colleoni-Pimenta finds that on-campus events such as the Spring Internship & Career Fair present crucial opportunities for students to take advantage of a variety of desired and unforeseen career options, and urges students to utilize on-campus events to develop their careers throughout their undergraduate experience. “Don’t ever be shy about putting yourself out there and coming to these kinds of events,” Colleoni-Pimenta advises. “You’re at college not only for your education, but also to find possible career fields. These events are meant to be taken advantage of to help you find your passions and interests, as well as to develop your career. Never stop searching for the next opportunity, you never know what you might find.”
On-campus career and networking events serve as essential opportunities for students to explore a variety of career fields and industries, practice and refine their professional skills, and even foster meaningful connections that may lead to their next internship, co-op, or full-time job lead. The Spring Internship & Career Fair offers just one of several opportunities throughout the academic year for students to advance their personal and professional development and broaden their networks with notable industry professionals. Don’t miss the next opportunity to advance your own career development – check out the featured events and featured jobs and internships on the O’Brien Center’s website to discover your next experience!
Written By: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021