As over 750 students approached the entrance to the gymnasium for the 2010 Fall Career Fair on October 6, Nina Weber, director of NYU-Poly’s Career Management Center, straightened their ties, checked that every shirt button was buttoned, and that no strand of hair was out of place. It was the final step in what for many students was an intense preparation process of Career Management Center workshops and resume critique sessions.
“My friends and I were up late rewriting our resumes,” explained Kwadso Sarpong-Faried, who will graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He said that he used a Career Management Center resource, the Optimal Resume template, to improve his resume. The Center also held training sessions to help students prepare for face-to-face meetings with company representatives.
With less-than-optimistic figures continuing to come out of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — the unemployment rate remained unchanged from August to September at 9.6 percent — Kwadso will be entering an uncertain job market. But he’s confident that his internship experience and the strength of an engineering degree will land him a job. (Eight of the top 10 undergraduate degrees that lead to high salaries are in engineering, according to PayScale.com.) “All of my friends who graduated with an engineering degree last year got jobs,” he said.
Graduate students Akhil Gopala Krishnan (second-semester electrical engineering) and Senem Pehlivan (first-semester computer science) described themselves as “hopeful.” Both are looking for internships and viewed the fair as more of a networking opportunity than a direct route to a position.
For non-engineering majors or those who are generally less optimistic, Angela Ho, a New York City Police Department detective and Polytechnic alum (‘03, CS), was on hand to offer advice and help recruit for the NYPD internship program. Angela was a participant in the program and informed students of the many opportunities in security civil service positions. “I graduated when we were still recovering from 9/11 and the job market was very much like it is today. I know what it’s like. There are options like our program that suit a wide range of majors.”
More sources of optimism: the number of employers at the Career Fair was up 38 percent from the Spring Fair and sought-after companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and the United Nations participated for the first time.
Interested in more career planning advice and activities? Visit the Career Management Center and be sure to mark your calendar for the Spring Fair on March 9.