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As Economy Struggles, Career Fair Draws Both Students and Employers

More than 1,400 undergraduate students attended the Sept. 22 Boston College Career Fair in Conte Forum, along with representatives from 115 employers. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff

Published: Oct. 6, 2011

For the second year in a row, the Boston College Career Center’s annual Career Fair boasted a strong turnout of both students and employers.

Bolstered by hopes that a grim economy would improve, the event, which took place Sept. 22 at Conte Forum, drew more than 1,400 undergraduate students and a record 115 employers – including Bloomberg, Cambridge Associates, Citi, Ernst & Young, Putnam Associates and Radio Disney — many who readily say they seek out BC alumni.

BC Career Center Associate Director Janet Costa Bates, who organizes the fair, said the event allows students the rare opportunity to meet industry leaders and to practice presenting themselves in a professional manner – a huge advantage in a highly competitive job market.

“Our theme this year is ‘Face to Face’ and we’re trying to remind students that you can’t just go on the Internet to look for a job,” said Bates. “You have to get out there, you have to network; talk to people face to face and build the personal relationships. Networking is the number one way the students will find a job.”

With a record number of employers attending, Bates said the perks of the Career Fair benefit companies that are trying to find the best candidate in a very crowded pool. 

“Employers see a lot of resumes. This allows them to put a face to the resume and get to know the students on a slightly different level,” said Bates.  

“A lot of employers are interested in Boston College students and this gives them the chance to brand their company for the students,” she said. 

Recruiters from the TJX Companies Inc. say they make it a point to attend the Boston College Career Fair, in which they have participated now for several years running. TJX Talent Acquisition Specialist Nicole Guelcher explains that her corporation decided to become a more formal partner this year after many positive experiences with BC hires.  

“For the first time, we made the decision to become a Career Fair sponsor. The BC alumni we have working at all levels of our organization are strong performers who are driven and focused on delivering results, so we are always eager to speak with BC students,” said Guelcher.  

“The students I met at the Career Fair were largely well-prepared, serious about their job search, and able to communicate well. It was a great afternoon.” 

In addition to companies, each of the Boston College graduate schools were represented, providing students a chance to talk about postgraduate education. 

Students were pleased to have a venue in which to look for internship opportunities and test the waters for interviews after graduation.  

“Overall, the Career Fair was a valuable experience,” Morgan Haronian ’12. “I ended up meeting representatives from companies that I had not previously considered in my career search, and I ended up learning that there are a lot of interesting careers available that I should consider. 

“Most company representatives were helpful and friendly, and they were encouraging that I apply even though I do not have a traditional CSOM degree. I even have some interviews scheduled with companies I learned about at the Career Fair and would not have pursued had I not spoken with their representatives.”  

Said Stanton Fields  '13, "The Career Fair was a great opportunity to meet a variety companies that I have an interest in. I was able to learn about the different opportunities that each business offered to sophomores as I continue my search for summer internships. Also, being able to ask upperclassmen about their internship experiences at a particular company gave me great insight to what I could look forward to doing over the summer." 

In addition to providing employment opportunities, the Career Fair also funds programs that provide experience for students. All proceeds from the event – employers pay $450 to set up a booth in Conte – pay for the Boston College Career Center's Summer Internship Stipend Programs.  

To see a video about this year’s Career Fair, go to the Chronicle YouTube channel.