Monmouth University Career Services held its largest Spring Career Day in the University’s history, with 130 employers in attendance on Wednesday, Apr. 6.
This year, over 350 students attended the event held in the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) in hopes of gaining a job, an internship, or new network connection. Some employers included Microsoft, the IRS, Wegmans Food Markets, Asbury Park Press and USA TODAY Network, Novo Nordisk Inc., iCIMS, Daiwa Capital Markets, Vanguard, and the FBI.
There were a few firsts at this year’s Spring Career Day. Employers took advantage of the MAC’s jumbotron in order to advertise their corporate logos. Jeff Mass, Assistant Director of Career Services, said, “This is a great way for employers to build their brand to MU students.”
Additionally, the University used electronic scanners for the first time to keep track of the number of students who came to the event.
Mass is responsible for planning both the Fall and Spring Career Days on campus. He feels events like Career Day are an essential step a student seeking a job should take.
“We think it’s important for students to attend events like this so they can maximize their contacts for internships and full-time career opportunities and learn about what jobs are out in the marketplace,” he said. “Career days give students the chance to be interviewed on-the-spot, instead of having to apply online and wait days or even weeks for a response from an employer.”
Senior photography major Jaclyn Shugard, attended the event to prove she’s not just another resume. “The job hunt has been pretty rough recently by doing it all online because you send your resume out online and it’s almost like it goes into a black hole,” she said. “You never hear back from the company.”
Mass advises students who attend the event to make a list of employers you plan to speak with. Jessica Ragsdale, a store leader of Microsoft, said research is very important. “I would assume that anyone who is interested in working at Microsoft or any of the tables would come up and have a professional demeanor, have a couple of questions that they have already looked into, and kind of just want answers for. They’d be looking for more of a background on the company, and what the next steps are, what the process looks like, that’s generally how we initiate conversations and get the ball rolling,” she said.
Additionally, Mass said that once you arrive at the Career Day event, you should present yourself in a professional manner. “Put time and effort into planning your ‘elevator pitch.’ First impressions still go a long way, so make sure to start off with a firm handshake, maintain good eye contact, and dress appropriately for the occasion,” he said.
John Guth, junior communication student with a concentration in radio/television, attended the event to find a summer job or paid internship. Last semester, he earned an internship with Press Communications from the last Career Day.
Guth said that preparedness is key to getting attention from employers. “Bring a resume, be prepared. Ask a lot of questions to your potential employers because they want to hear that, they want to know that you’re interested. Be engaged, make eye contact, and give handshakes,” he said.
To help with making a good first impression both in real-life and online, Career Services added a LinkedIn photo service three years ago. Mass said, “Students and alumni need to start thinking about building a professional online presence. Including a photo into your LinkedIn profile will help you make the right impression and increase the number of people who view your profile.”
This year, over 70 students got a free professional portrait from the LinkedIn service. Mass said that some of the employers jumped in line to take advantage of the service.
Rebecca Mumford of the Asbury Park Press and USA TODAY agreed that being prepared is a great way to make of good first impression. “[Job seekers] should have that elevator pitch ready. They should walk up and know what they want to do going forward,” she said.
Mumford said she had about four strong potential prospects from the Career Day because they knew exactly what they wanted to do and showed excitement towards her company. ”I’ve always hired people right out of college because they want to learn the job,” she said, “They’re not just there to earn the paycheck they really want to learn what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and move up.”
If a student needs assistance in preparing for the career day, Mass advises students to visit the Career Services office. There, students can learn tips on interviewing skills, participate in a “mock interview,” learn of job search strategies, and how to construct a resume and cover letter.
Mentors were present at the Career Day to help students who were unsure about which employers to connect with. Mass said, “They give students to confidence to approach recruiters at their tables and pitch their skills and career goals.”
One such mentor, Phil Cruz, an alum from ’94, went up to students who seemed like they needed guidance. His number one tip for students was to have a resume they could be proud of. He said, “Have your resume prepared, and do rehearsals because [employers] can tell, like sharks smell blood, whether you’re nervous or not. It’s kind of expected when you’re entry-level, but it will help if you’re smooth.”
If a student did not get hired from the Career Day event, they should not feel discouraged; they will just be more prepared for the next Career Day. The main goal of Career Day is not only for students to find jobs, it’s for students get their foot through the door.
Mass said, “The central goal of any career day is to give students the opportunity to meet and network with many employers in person in one location at one time,” and with over 350 students in attendance, that certainly happened.
PHOTO TAKEN by Kiera Lanni