SHU Career Fair Pairs Students and Alums with Prospective Employers
By Meg Barone
FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Technological advances have made applying for jobs via the internet completely acceptable, and yet, that electronic process lacks the obvious human element.
At the annual SHU Internship and Career Fair at the William H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center on Feb. 19, 453 students and alums met face-to-face with prospective employers, allowing them to display their personalities and demonstrate a passion for the work they seek, something cyberspace just can’t capture and convey.
Ultimately, some of them may submit applications and resumes by email, but the initial meeting in person will give them a competitive edge over those who lacked the opportunity.
“The main value of any event like this is the opportunity to get face-to-face with the recruiters. You’re establishing that first impression so that when you apply for a job or internship down the line, they recognize and remember you. It’s a foot in the door that you wouldn’t necessarily get any other way,” said Rick DelVecchio, SHU’s director of placement and coordinator of the event.
DelVecchio said there was a significant increase in the number of students and graduates who attended this year’s Career Fair. “As far as anyone can tell, it’s the highest number ever,” DelVecchio said. The number of participating companies and non-profit organizations also increased to 118 over last year’s high of 111, he said.
“We hear all about how the job market is going to become more competitive as the economy slows and the success of this year’s fair is a testament to the fact that the employers value what Sacred Heart has to offer and what our students have to offer,” DelVecchio said.
Recruiters represented a wide range of employers from large, well-known companies like General Electric, Deloitte & Touche, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, to state and federal agencies like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Marine Corps., to smaller community service organizations like Casey Family Services. Job openings were in the fields of financial services, communications, banking, technology, and arts and entertainment.
“They had so many companies and jobs represented that even if you don’t get a job from the fair, you were able to network and get your resume out there,” said sophomore Beth Bassett, a sport management and marketing major from Northampton, New Hampshire. Bassett was looking for an internship for next fall and making connections for future internships. “My goal is to have three internships before I graduate,” she said.
Others were looking to secure full-time employment. Mili Kanapilly, of Stamford, Conn., a December 2007 SHU graduate with a degree in finance, said she was impressed with the number and quality of the companies represented and the types of jobs they were offering. Kanapilly took the opportunity so seriously that she studied the list of companies, narrowed it down to her top 30 and then set about meeting with representatives from each.
Recruiters were equally complimentary of the students. “We’re extremely excited to be here because it’s a good pool of candidates,” said Dominic Carew, a development agent for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, which had 14 summer positions to fill.
Sophomore Christopher Alma, a finance major from Pelham, New York, said it was an interesting opportunity to learn even how many different career paths were available within one company. Christopher Kingham, a sophomore finance major from Rye, New York, said the Career Fair gave him ideas on how to approach career opportunities when he nears graduation.