February’s Spring Career and Internship Fair set impressive new attendance records, boasting 115 employers and 846 students, representing a 43 percent increase in employers over last year’s event. But when it comes to helping Fordham students find great jobs, Stefany Fattor, Director of Career Services, says she and her team are just getting started.
In addition to the drastic increase in employers, this year’s fair also demonstrated a significant increase in the diversity of hiring organizations. Ninety percent of companies were seeking liberal arts majors, and 23 percent of the employers at the fair were with nonprofit organizations.
For the 846 students who attended, that meant front-row access to opportunity.
“The great thing about a career fair is that the companies who take the time to attend are actively recruiting, so students’ odds of getting an opportunity are much higher,” Fattor said. “And these employers want Fordham students.”
Fattor said the success of this year’s career fair is the result of a variety of initiatives the career services team have undertaken this year. Many changes were implemented in direct response to student feedback, including increasing attendance by nonprofit employers and providing students a detailed list of the core majors each employer was interested in seeing.
It’s a strategy that worked for Fordham College at Rose Hill senior Philip Pocchia. Pocchia was able to secure two interviews for full-time work at the career fair. Pocchia, an English major, said his Jesuit education has provided him with skills and expertise that will translate to a variety of settings.
“I market myself as having a liberal arts degree. I am pretty much able to do anything,” Pocchia said. “Fordham’s really broadened my perspective and generally prepared me for the world of work.”
The career services team invested a significant amount of time into building relationships with employers this year in order to expand the variety and depth of offerings available to students.
“We don’t just send employers a mass e-mail and say, ‘Come to the career fair,’” Fattor said. “We have meetings with employers, help them understand the value of all of our opportunities, and develop proposals to meet employers’ needs.”
In the fast-paced and under-resourced world that is business in 2012, the career services team must also demonstrate to employers, particularly to understaffed nonprofits, that attending the career fair is a worthy investment of their time.
“We had to convince them that they would see an unprecedented number of students and that Fordham students were the best they were going to see,” Fattor said.
Employer Lauren Bloch, college recruiter for AOL, attended the Spring Career Fair to recruit for some of the more than 200 internships AOL offers nationwide over the summer. Bloch, who has worked with Fordham students in the past, describes them as “absolutely fabulous.”
“I cannot say enough great things about [our Fordham interns],” Bloch said. “They all have really good personalities, and are always willing to do more than what is expected of them.”
Bloch said AOL was part of the 90 percent of companies at the career fair looking to recruit liberal arts majors.
“I want people who know how to write,” she said. “I can teach people Excel.”
Alex Reynolds was one of those liberal arts students at the fair. As a Fordham College at Rose Hill sophomore studying international political economy with a minor in business administration, Reynolds attended the Spring Career Fair seeking both internships and ideas.
“Seeing the employees of all these companies together in one building helps you figure out where you want to be,” Reynolds said. “You see different personalities, and I find myself thinking, ‘That’s a company I want to work for. They all seem very happy there.’”
Reynolds is in conversation with recruiters from two companies he met at the career fair. He said Fordham’s location in New York City opens opportunities he could never have imagined elsewhere.
“It’s not like other places where you’re hoping you get an internship at one point. You can get as many internships as you want being in a city like New York,” he said. “The opportunities to learn and grow through experiential education are right outside the gates at Fordham.”
As the busy spring recruitment season swings into full force, Fattor encourages Fordham students to continue to take advantages of the services of her office well beyond the career fair.
“Students should be allowed to demand a lot from career services,” Fattor said. “To students, I say, ‘You should come in for career counseling, and let us help you find a job.’”
– Jennifer Spencer