Students Make the Most of University’s Two-Day Fall Career Expo
Hosted by the Career Development Center, the Career Expo brought more than 100 employers from diverse fields and industries to the University of New Haven. Approximately 1,200 students interacted with representatives, learning about the companies, nonprofits, and government agencies as well as the job and internship opportunities they offer.
September 22, 2023
By Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA
Soon after the completion of the University’s recent two-day Career Expo, Bakhtawar (Baki) Izzat, employer relations manager at the University’s Career Development Center, said, "Employers told us this was one of the best-organized career expos."
This year, for the first time, the Career Expo was held over two days. One of the main reasons for dividing the expo into two separate days was to make it as impactful as possible, and to give students of every major a chance to market and explore their desired fields directly, explained Izzat.
The goal of the event is to create relationships between employer partners and the students. Izzat focused on ensuring the expo’s success by helping to recruit more than 110 employers. She witnessed a great deal of student-employer engagement where students learned about internship opportunities, full-time job possibilities, and new companies.
The expo's first day was dedicated to engineering, business, arts, and entertainment fields, and day two was for healthcare, sciences, nonprofit, and criminal justice students.
"Career expos should be considered a prime opportunity to get your foot in the door with employers and to secure opportunities,” Izzat said. “I am always happy to help our eager students connect with employers to secure such opportunities!"
As much as students learned from this career expo, Izzat said she learned a great deal, too, when she came across a few challenges while helping to plan the event. "This career expo was super interesting to run."
Izzat encourages students to take advantage of the resources at the expo as much as possible.
"It might take some time to secure a competitive opportunity due to the current job market,” she said. “However, make sure to continuously network, build on your skill set, and keep moving forward.”
‘The keys to success’
Natalie Criniti, career adviser at the Career Development Center, observed a great flow of students at the expo. She believes that this career expo helped escalate the students' job searches, while those who are not looking for an internship or job just yet gained insight into how the job market works and what opportunities could be available.
"Networking is the key to landing a position, and starting this process at a Career Expo would be an excellent opportunity,” she said.
Criniti thanked the more than 40 volunteers who helped execute the event and strongly encouraged more such initiatives in which students showcase their management skills. Her advice is that students must always appreciate the opportunities networking can provide them, and career expos are a great way to meet new people.
"Be sure never to avoid using your resources and job platforms as it will help you learn a great deal about the professional industry,” she said. “Besides, persistence, resilience, and dedication are the keys to success. Never doubt your abilities, and be certain that an opportunity meant for you will always find its way."
‘I am always looking for team players’
The 110 employers who participated in the expo had talked with students about opportunities across their companies and organizations. This gave the employers a great platform to look for their ideal employees and to learn more about the students.
Glenn Allen, CEO of Brainstorm Digital, said the expo was a great experience. He talked with students about his visual effects company, and they had discussions about similar interests, which was a great way to network. He expressed that he is often looking for new, emerging talent.
Allen believes in knowing an individual as a person rather than an employee and suggested students to be real and natural at all times, even while looking for jobs or interviewing.
"Training young professionals has been an integral part of success for Brainstorm Digital,” Allen said. "As an employer, I am always looking for team players who are eager to learn and can work with others. I have benefitted more from such individuals than any 'hot prospect' with an incredible GPA or an impressive resume."
‘The students' excitement and enthusiasm’
The team at the CDC received incredible responses from students about the preparations they had done ahead of time, which added to their confidence while approaching the employers.
"We were very intentional with our career fair prep activities, and we are happy that it all paid off,” said Jessica Sztaimberg, a career adviser with the Career Development Center. “We saw hundreds of students at the fair and were happy to provide them with a platform to network and find opportunities.”
"Seeing the students' excitement and enthusiasm was priceless," continued Sztaimberg. "Now that the Fall Career Expo has taken place, we hope students will proactively utilize our online resources, such as our How To Guides, and update their LinkedIn profiles, resumes, and cover letters. We look forward to bringing even more employers on campus this year and hearing all of our students' success stories with internships, interviewing, and networking."
‘A chance to be more than just a resume’
KiJana Haney, a fire engineer at Arup, took part in the second day of the expo. He said he interacted with many great candidates and is excited to review the resumes he collected during his time at the fair.
"Arup has done seminars with the University of New Haven before, but this was our first career fair, and we enjoyed it a lot,” said Haney. “The University's hospitality and the students' enthusiasm were enough to ensure we will return next time. I believe that the University is home to some amazing majors, which gives us a broad spectrum to choose our employees from. Arup, a global firm, is always hiring new people, and we are based at multiple locations and have offices across the world.”
Matt Caporale, executive director of the Career Development Center, said the two-day career fair gave everyone more space, opportunities to interact, and balance among all majors.
"Career fairs are strong networking and information-gathering events for students, and they enable students to make direct connections with employers for internship and job opportunities to learn more about the different types of companies, industries, and opportunities available to college students. It is a chance to be more than just a resume and offers opportunities to talk to employers to start a career conversation.”
Caporale suggests that students use events such as the Career Expo to meet as many employers as possible, discover new industries, and learn about the types of companies that hire college students. He hopes they left motivated to push their internship and/or job search forward, however, and whenever, possible.
"Our student turnout and employer turnout were fantastic, as more than 110 employers and 1,200 students attended over the two days,” he said. “We are very proud of our work to engage employers and students. We know there is always more we can do to increase the number of organizations and industries represented. That is what motivates us to keep doing more.”
Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA is candidate in the University’s MBA program.