Hundreds of jobseekers drop resumes at Career Fair

Friday, May 9, 2014

By Joe Gbodai

Hundreds of jobseekers, including current students, graduates and local residents were on the hunt for a job during DCCC’s annual Career Fair on April 16. The Student Employment Services and Co-op Center hosted the event on Marple campus to provide an opportunity to meet with local and regional employers who are actively recruiting for a variety of careers.

The fair began at 10 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m. This year, recruiters were separated by careers. According to an email sent by the college, this change was to make it easier for job seekers to locate employers in their specific area of interest and to expand the overall size of the Career Fair.

Employers in the medical fields were grouped together in Room 1407 in the STEM building, while the technical and trades industries were located in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC). All other employers were located in the STEM lobby.

Dressed in suits and armed with resumes, jobseekers browsed more than 70 employer tables, including TD Bank, Main Line Health, and SEPTA.

“I’ve applied to about five recruiters over in the [ATC],” said Mike Falo, a 23-year-old machine-tool technology student who’s expecting to graduate in December. “I like the setup. I think the people here know what they’re doing.”

Once the fair officially began, applicants swarmed to a variety of tables, eager to speak with a recruiter. As the morning became noon, the number of applicants grew and remained steady.

In Room 1407, traffic intensified, largely due to the lengthy line of applicants waiting to speak with a representative from Thomas Jefferson University.

“We’ve seen about a million people today,” joked Camille Williams, a Talent Acquisition Specialist for the University. “I think it has a lot to do with the renowned reputation that Thomas Jefferson has.”

The crowds eventually began to subside at 1 p.m. although late applicants continued to drift through Room 1407 and the STEM Lobby. Students at the ATC were headed to class, when employer tables such as SEPTA’s captured their attention.

“There are a wide variety of openings, anywhere from administrative to skill trades,” said Dan Dandrea, SEPTA’s manager of recruitment and staffing. “We look for candidates who have the proper qualifications, depending on the job they’re applying for. This is our seventh year at this event. Today was good. We also spoke with instructors at the ATC and informed them on what we’re looking for in regards to their students.”

As 2 p.m. approached, students shared their thoughts on whether the fair was helpful in a sit-down with The Communitarian.

“It’s hit or miss,” said David Austin, a 24-year-old business administration student who’s in his third semester at the college. “The recruiters were informative and seemed to give everyone an equal shot. However, there weren’t many summer internships, which is what I was mainly looking for.” Even students who weren’t prepared for the event said that they felt it was beneficial.

“Although I was unprepared, it was great,” said Michael Nhan, a 20-year-old computer programmer and game development student. “What I liked mostly was the diversity amongst the employers who attended the fair.”

Some of the recruiters didn’t look too happy to be there, which might have made some people hesitant to go up to their table, Nhan added.

The event organizers at the Student Employment Services and Co-op Center said they were quite pleased with the turnout of the Career Fair, and that it was a “win-win” for both applicants and recruiters.

“This was the largest fair we’ve hosted in the last 10 years,” said Carlotta D. Randolph, managing director of Workforce Employment Services. “We were pleased to see that separating career fields received great feedback, especially from employers and faculty in the Advanced Technology Center who were now able to connect with more jobseekers who are specifically searching for a career in the trades field.”

Randolph added that many students have received call-backs from employers. She also expressed her delight when she heard other applicants were making follow-up calls with the employers.

“We will be back,” said Williams. “I really enjoyed this job fair. I think it was really helpful for us and the hospitality was awesome!”

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