Jireh Williams ’22 is undecided about what career he’ll pursue when he graduates from Clark University, but he’s getting plenty of help to figure it out.
Williams was one of the 400 Clark students gathering information, exploring options, and forging connections at the Fall Career and Internship Fair held Wednesday in Tilton Hall. The reimagined fair, sponsored by the Career Connections Center at Clark, welcomed more than 30 organizations representing 14 industries, all promoting internship and employment opportunities.
Students chatted with representatives from fields ranging from environmental services, to finance, to healthcare. Prior to the fair, Career Connections Center staff had helped students refine their pitches and polish their resumes.
“I’m at the career fair to get ideas and advice about my next moves,” he said. “The fair is helpful because it allows me to make connections with lots of different industries.”
Other students like Nathanael Lopez ’20, a psychology major with minors in management and marketing, arrived with a plan to speak with specific companies whose mission and culture align with their post-graduation career goals.
“I’m looking to go into the psychology field after graduating with a focus on childhood development,” Lopez said. “I came to the career fair looking to talk to organizations that fall within this interest, like Y.O.U. Inc.”
The fair also featured new programming in collaboration with Multicultural and First Generation Support Services and an area for LinkedIn photo shoots. Students moved from station to station, guided by the map of presenters designed by Ana Nop ’19.
Alumni representatives, wearing “I’m a Clarkie” buttons, eagerly engaged with students and staff.
“My Unum team and I came to the career fair knowing we would not only find top talent, but students willing to ask questions and take control of their futures,” said George Jreije ’17, MBA ’18, professional development program associate at Unum. “As a former student myself, I am always impressed by the high bar prospective Clark graduates continue to set, and I look forward to continuing to connect with them both as fellow alumni and colleagues here at Unum. The students I spoke to showed a strong sense of purpose that makes them attractive to recruiters and will guide them to success in their careers.”
Regardless of their varied motivations for attending the career fair, students were keen to know what employers are looking for in employees and interns and what elements make an effective application. Many students came prepared, having taken advantage of the Career Connections Center’s web resources and working with their career adviser to research the company profiles on Handshake. The CCC site advises Clark students attending career fairs on everything from how to dress appropriately when approaching a potential employer to prioritizing their time so they reap the most benefit from their interactions.
Representatives from organizations like Open Sky Community Services, Fenway Health, Staples, Reliant Medical Group, and Cinch I.T. said they want interns and employees who are genuinely interested in the company, and who are flexible and engaged when presented with tasks. In addition, they are seeking hardworking individuals who have an interest in staying in the field long term. Many highlighted the importance of “soft skills,” like problem-solving abilities, a sense of empathy, open-mindedness, and curiosity.
Honesty is important when submitting an application, representatives counseled. Exaggerating one’s level of experience or interest in a particular field must be avoided.
They advised students to continue attending career fairs as a means to showcase themselves and make meaningful connections. To maximize these opportunities, employers at Wednesday’s fair offered several recommendations:
According to Rosie Gallant, director of employment engagement for the Career Connections Center, employers at the fair reported that Clark students were prepared, professional, and had solid resumes. A number of employers have inquired about returning to campus, and the investment management company Eaton Vance has invited 10 students to attend diversity and women’s events at its Boston headquarters.
Clark students will have another opportunity to meet employers at the next Career and Internship Fair to be held Feb. 5, 2020, in Tilton Hall.