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Career fair draws thousands

More than 3,000 young job seekers from all over the country handed out resumes, and networked and interviewed with more than 200 employers at Northeastern’s regional career fair last week.

The fair, held on October 8, is one of two annual events sponsored by the career services office. It’s a popular venue for students seeking a post-graduation job as well as for employers, who view the university’s students as high-level candidates.

Northeastern’s co-op program gives students a leg up on their peers when it comes to landing a job, says Elizabeth Kane, a campus recruiter for insurance company Liberty Mutual.

“Because of the co-op program, Northeastern students come in with past experiences that really help in the workplace,” she says. “They are hardworking, driven and very career-focused.”

Nicole Lapidus, a talent acquisition specialist for the merchandise division of retailer TJX, echoes Kane. “The experience Northeastern students gain in the classroom and on co-op is invaluable for our company,” she says.

Lapidus, who before the fair said she expected to speak with more than 50 students interested in working as allocation analysts, singles out Northeastern business students for their strong analytical skills and time spent working in teams.

“Our company is very collaborative,” she says. “We’re looking for students who are willing to take risks and make decisions, and the group exercises Northeastern students do in the business school enable them to run a business.”

General Electric sent five recruiters to help hundreds of students get a better feel for the technology and services conglomerate. Jonathan Salt, a program manager in the company’s global engineering group, says GE showcases its job openings at Northeastern career fairs because that’s where the talent is.

“Northeastern students are hands-on and real-world,” he says. “They come in ready to work and ready to be part of what we’re doing.”

Mark Ometoruwa, a junior studying economics, attended the fair to gather career information, exchange business cards and seek out co-op opportunities. He reports he was most eager to chat with representatives from Fidelity Investments, financial-news provider Bloomberg and EF Education, which specializes in international-study programs.

“I’m trying to establish connections for now and for the future,” he says. “It blows my mind that Bloomberg is here. I’ve always wanted to work for them.”

He credits his courses in economics for preparing him for a fast-track career. “We take courses that we can apply to our work with companies,” Ometoruwa says. “Now that the whole economy is going abuzz, economists are the kind of people needed.”

For Katie Guffin, a senior marketing and psychology major, the career fair was a simple way to snare face-to-face meetings with representatives from Royal Philips Electronics and retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, two companies she’s targeting for a job after graduation.

“It’s great that Northeastern puts on an event like this,” she says. “It makes it so easy to network with companies and meet recruiters.”

Guffin, who has completed co-ops at EF Education, Staples and an orphanage in Costa Rica, says Northeastern’s approach to integrating classes with real-world experience has gotten her ready for the working world.

“The professional experience makes me feel so much more prepared than my friends who didn’t graduate with that experience,” she says.

Although cutbacks prompted by the recession meant that the number of companies registered at the career fair was fewer than last year’s, Northeastern still ranks as one of the largest fairs in New England, says Maria Stein, director of career services.

“The economy is still hurting, and we’re continually hearing about high unemployment rates,” she says. “Even so, we were pleased with the turnout this time around.”

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