April 2, 2014 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
Remy Morel wasn’t sure what to expect when she attended BMCC’s Spring Career Fair a year ago. But showing up proved a smart move—it’s how she landed her first job.
Since then, says the BMCC Business Administration major, “I’ve found the Fair to be a great way to build connections, see what kinds of jobs are out there, and learn new things.”
Morel was one of more than 700 BMCC students to throng this semester’s Fair, which took place in the college gym. The twice-yearly event is sponsored every fall and spring by the Center for Career Development and BMCC’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP).
The Fair drew recruiters from over 80 employers in the business and financial services sectors, as well as education, government, healthcare and human services. Citibank, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Streetwise Partners, the US State Department, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Lifespire Inc. were among those who participated.
Up close and personal
Tito Saavedra, a graduating Business Administration major considering a career in the insurance field, spent part of his time at the Fair speaking with recruiters from the American Arbitration Association.
“They were offering some interesting opportunities in my field—and they were willing to take the time to answer my questions,” he says.
“Many employers recruit through Career Express, BMCC’s online career services management system,” notes BMCC employer relations specialist Shemeka Braithwaite.
“But the opportunity for students to meet face-to-face with so many recruiters in one place—to ask questions, network, and apply for jobs in person—is invaluable.”
The students aren’t the only ones to benefit from those up-close-and-personal interactions. “Throughout the year, the Career Development office works hard to foster great relationships with employers,” she says. “Among other things, we want to make them feel welcome at the Fair—and to feel that this is an event that’s definitely worth their while.”
The Fair is clearly succeeding on that front. According to Ulysses Grosso, Community Partner Manager for Workforce1 for upper Manhattan and Staten Island, “Workforce1 is a New York City agency that helps prepares and connect qualified candidates to job opportunities in all five boroughs.”
At the Workforce1 booth, Grosso was recruiting for openings in food service, retail, security and healthcare.
“We’ve partnered with BMCC over the past five years and have had great success in putting many students in part-time jobs,” he says. “BMCC does a wonderful job getting students ready to take full advantage of the Fair while enabling us to see a lot of people in the course of a single day.”
One day, multiple options
Liberal Arts major Shamik Bernal plans to transfer to a four-year college—and, hopefully, a nursing program—after earning his associates degree next year.
“One of the things I like most about the Career Fair is that it makes it so easy to explore many different options,” he says. “That’s also one of the great things about starting out at BMCC—you have so many different careers to choose from.”
To be sure, the value of connecting with recruiters in person doesn’t override the importance of establishing a compelling online presence. At an interactive booth, students received personalized advice on writing their LinkedIn career profile. On hand to help was BMCC career advisor Juli-Anne Brockway.
“It’s important these days that career-minded students have a presence in all the social media—especially LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter,” Brockway says.
“One of our aims is to get them comfortable with that.” The Fair also afforded students an opportunity to practice their “elevator pitch” with potential employers—a 60-second summary of their education, relevant experience and skills, and their reasons for wanting to work for their company.
“The elevator pitch is the student’s first opportunity to introduce him- or herself and make a great impression on the employer,” Braithwaite says. “Hopefully, it will also be a lasting impression.”