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In a tight job market, some room to move

Two years ago, Kyle Oberkoetter attended Northeastern University’s fall career fair as geology major in search of employment after graduation. He found his way to the booth for Schlumberger, a Texas-based oilfield services provider, and ultimately landed a job with the company.

Now a junior field engineer working in Roswell, N.M., Oberkoetter returned to campus on Thursday for this year’s career fair as a Schlumberger representative, speaking to students about international opportunities for engineers at his company.

“I’m excited about today. For us, it’s a great opportunity,” said Oberkoetter, ’09.

The event, one of two annual career fairs sponsored by the Northeastern’s career services office, drew more than 2,000 students and alumni, as well as 200 employers. Companies from about 20 states were represented—including Michigan, California, and Texas—as well as one international firm based in Ontario, Canada.

Sophomore Billy Schollmeyer saw the career fair as a chance to get his foot in the door. The criminal justice major is interested in investigative work and federal law, and he was there to speak with the representatives from several government agencies.

“I’m here to find out about co-ops for the spring, and to see what I can do to stand out,” Schollmeyer said.

Urvi Vithlani, a graduate student in information systems, showed up feeling confident that what she called the “perfect blend” of business and technical coursework in her program would put her in a strong position with potential employers. “It would be lovely to hear from employers after dropping off résumés here,” she said.

The career fair, one of the largest in New England, provided students with an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with employer representatives in a tight job market.

“We always tell students here, whether you are a freshman or a graduate student, that a career fair is a great networking opportunity,” said Maria Stein, director of career services at Northeastern. “It’s about learning and understanding the employers who recruit our students, finding out who they are and what they have to offer.”

Stein said Northeastern students offer employers a breadth and depth of experience that students at other colleges and universities cannot match, thanks to the University’s world-renowned co-op program and other experiential learning opportunities across the United States and in 69 countries around the world.

Many employers agreed.

“We like Northeastern a lot because of the co-op program,” said Thomas Petit, staffing coordinator for NSTAR. “They have real-world experience, and they tend to be more mature.”

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