Organized in conjunction with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the November 7th event was open to both students of Plaza College and the public. Attendees had a chance to present their resumes and professional inquiries to representatives from 24 organizations.
The expo was themed with an emphasis on healthcare and wellness, catering to Plaza College’s various medically linked academic programs.
These include associate degree programs in health information technology and a medical specialization in administrative studies, as well as four other tracks within the School of Allied Health.
Exhibitors at the event ranged from healthcare heavy-hitters like NYU Langone and the Alzheimer’s Association to more Queens-based operations like St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and EMU Health.
Vendors also included organizations like the Department of Social Services, Manpower, Legal Aid and the IRS.
“If you look around, these employers are pretty diverse,” said David Marulanda, a research assistant for the WALLE (Waiting Room as a Literacy and Learning Environment) program at NewYork Presbyterian. “So students can get a glimpse of what the workforce is really like and what their opportunities are.
“They might be taking classes for a particular subject matter and realize they can use that for a totally different industry,” he added.
Marulanda, who himself graduated from City College just last year, explained that the career fairs he attended as a student were beneficial in guiding his future.
“They didn’t help me get a position, but they did help me understand what’s out there and to realize that it’s important to have options,” he said. “One industry shouldn’t be your main focus. You should be willing to at least think about different career paths related to your major of course.”
Students attending the fair also reflected a well-rounded collection of educational backgrounds. The event provided a useful tool and source of inspiration for those studying within each of Plaza College’s five schools.
“I love coming to career fairs because there are always so many people to network with,” said freshman Dashawn Ayres. “I always come out with so much different information. And even if it’s not for me, I can pass the information on to somebody else.”
Ayres is studying business administration and hopes to own his own business one day. Still, he saw the expo as an important opportunity for himself and others to create opportunities for a future foray into the job market.
“I’ve been trying to get people to come here all day because this is like a little interview,” Ayres recounted. “You can actually come and see what different companies are offering you and what kind of qualifications you need, just in case you might want to get into a field later on.”
Aside from the bounds of informative material and networking opportunities for students, the expo is beneficial for employers as well.
“I think for us, not too many people know that we exist,” said Dan Donoghue, a representative from Transitional Services for New York (TSNY). “And so it gives us exposure to the students. They might not be looking for a job now, but they may know somebody that they could refer to us.”
Getting the Most Out of a Career Fair • Pay a visit to your career advisor or your school’s career office before attending the fair. Many universities provide resource centers staffed with experts trained to help hone students with job-search skills and forge career goals. An advisor will help you understand what to expect from a career fair, and how to prepare.
• Bring lots of copies of your resume. Make sure you have plenty of resumes to go around, since you never know which companies will catch your interest. Even if you don’t have much job experience, a polished resume shows professionalism and dedication to establishing a career. Plus, giving companies your resume in person gives you a chance to show of your personality and present your qualifications of paper.
• Come prepared. Find out which organizations and companies will be present at the fair and research them beforehand. Choose some exhibitors you want to make a point to speak with and come up with intelligent questions to ask them. Employers love to know that you are interested and informed. You should also be ready to answer any questions the employer may have for you.
• Be open and let your curiosity shine. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do in life, but it’s great to have an idea of the avenue you would like to pursue. Career fairs are a great opportunity to discover what’s out there, so make sure to ask employers how your interests and field of study apply to their organization.