To help Rensselaer students who are interested in identifying, planning for, and achieving future career goals, the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) hosted its annual Spring Career Fair last month. More than 1,900 Rensselaer undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to meet and talk with representatives from nearly 150 public- and private-sector employers.
Now in its 13th year, the fair is designed to help students think ahead to potential full-time, co-op, internship, or summer employment opportunities. “Career Fairs provide employers with an opportunity to meet students informally in a relatively short period of time,” said Dawn Cairns-Weaver, director of experiential learning and cooperative education. “Today’s employers really desire students who have had some experience while in college. This is what gives a student the competitive edge when it comes to landing a full-time job.
“When it comes to students, we have encouraged them to make an effort to attend Career Fairs because they provide them with an opportunity to network with prospective employers, obtain information about various industries, and generate a list of contacts,” Cairns-Weaver said. “Career Fairs can also present students with a personal opportunity to express interest in a company. We always tell our students to never underestimate the personal power of sharing your resume with an employer representative in person.”
In an effort to literally place the “power to prepare for the fair in the hands of Rensselaer students,” the CCPD this year launched a full-feature iPhone, iPad, and Android app. The Career Fair+ App provided students with instant access to all of the important information they would need for the Career Fair, including a map, employer profiles, the type of positions employers are recruiting for, and tips for success.
The RPI Clothes Closet is a new resource that is available for students who are looking for appropriate professional attire. The idea was created by a student in order to help fellow students make a great first impression in a professional setting. The clothes closet contains men’s and women’s professional and business casual clothing and accessories donated by faculty, staff, students, alumni, the neighboring community, and area companies. There are no fees charged to the students for using the closet, and they have the option to keep the item of clothing or donate it back.
This year, 85 employers participating in the fair hailed from New York state and the Northeast, including several Capital Region-based companies. More than 25 percent of the employers are new to recruiting at Rensselaer. Participating companies included AngioDynamics, Bloomberg, Blue Sky Studios, Boeing, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Deloitte, Dow Jones, Ecovative Design, FactSet Research Systems Inc., GE, GlobalFoundries, Hasbro, IBM, MathWorks, Newell Rubbermaid, Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Palantir Technologies, Pitney Bowes Inc., Schlumberger, Stryker Orthopaedics, The Blackstone Group, University of New Hampshire Law School, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, and ZS Associates.
First-year student Farland Patterson, a native of Hadden Township, N.J., who is majoring in computer science, attended the Spring Career Fair, and shared his thoughts about planning and his experience. “I prepared by creating a resume based on Career Center guidance, having it reviewed, and looking over the list of companies that would attend the fair to see which would be good fits,” he said. “The Career Fair itself was a little overwhelming, and some of the bigger companies were more intimidating to talk to than I anticipated,” he said. “In hindsight, I ought to have prepared to ask more specific questions of potential employers.
The mission of the Center for Career and Professional Development is to be a catalyst in the development of Rensselaer students to become world leaders in a technologically based global economy. The center is focused on providing programs and services to assist students in discovering and clarifying career choices, and to teach them how to manage their careers effectively.