By Kristen Frohlich
The College filled with students dressed in professional attire as they prepared for the biannual Opportunities Fair on Friday, Sept. 29.
The Career Center hosted the fair in the Student Recreation Center, with over 160 companies and graduate schools in attendance.
“We host a fall Opportunities Fair to allow students to begin exploring the next steps in their career development, whether that be internships, full-time employment or graduate/professional school,” said Emily Behn, assistant director of employer relations.
The fair served as a chance for students to learn about available positions in a wide array of companies, which are interested in hiring students from the College.
“Students have the opportunity to speak with employers, university representatives and internship supervisors that are looking to recruit TCNJ students,” Behn said. “It is both an opportunity to learn about positions that are available as well as a chance to begin networking.”
Students expressed enthusiasm regarding the networking opportunity provided by the fair.
“This fair is an excellent way for me to begin networking with engineering firms and companies that interest me, said Endale Seleshi, a sophomore computer engineering major. “Hopefully, I will be able to find an internship for the summer.”
The fair was open to students of all years and majors, allowing each student to customize their experience.
“First-year students can begin to get comfortable attending networking events and sharing their experiences with employers,” Behn said. “Sophomores and juniors can begin to explore internship opportunities or graduate school requirements, and our seniors will be looking for full-time employment.”
The fair highlighted businesses in close proximity to the College, which was helpful for students unfamiliar with local employment opportunities.
“As a transfer student, the fall Opportunity Fair is a great way for me to begin to network with businesses and companies in the surrounding area, for I am still new to campus,” said Mark Dilonno, a junior economics major.
Rick Lancia, the human resources manager at HMP Communications, was excited to introduce himself and his company to students in order for them to learn about opportunities at HMP Communications.
“We are here today for we identify that due to our growth, we are going to have a need for entry-level positions in the next six-12 months,” Lancia said. “We come to the fall Opportunities Fair, for it gives us the opportunity to meet with graduating and undergraduate students for internships and jobs.”
Lancia emphasized the importance of face-to-face interaction while recruiting for HMP Communications.
“We find that we do a much better job when we are able to meet students in person rather than seeing them on a piece of paper,” he said.
While in-person interaction is a key component of networking, LionsLink facilitated students’ experiences at the fair.
“Many employers attending the fair have an active internship or job posting on LionsLink, powered by Handshake, which allows our students to network with them prior to their interviews,” Behn said.
LionsLink, an online program available to students and alumni of the College, also allows them to submit their resumes to potential employers.
Students are optimistic about the role Handshake will play in furthering their careers.
“Handshake can certainly help to further my steps towards my future career that I would like to delve in because it can provide me with tools that can show me how to research specific jobs and internships I am interested in,” said sophomore communication studies major Dessa Reed.
The Career Center plans to host its next Opportunities Fair during the spring 2018 semester.