Each spring semester, scores of students and employers fill Taffner Field House hoping to find the perfect professional match at the Just in Time Career Fair. This year, the career fair moved online—with the same goal of making connections.
“University Career Services wants to offer our students the ability to meet with employers who are hiring,” said Donna Haynes, Senior Director of Employer Relations, University Career Services. “We leveraged the power of technology and embraced innovation in order to make that connection.”
The virtual event was attended by 225 students and included 47 employers from a wide range of industries, including AmeriCorps, Broadridge, New York Mets, NYU Langone Health, New York Life Insurance, and OZY Media.
To ensure that students and employers connected with each other—no matter where they were physically located—St. John’s used CareerEco, a virtual recruiting platform.
Students registered for the event in advance and submitted their résumé to their preferred employers through a secure portal. They were then able to connect with employers during the virtual event by “visiting” the employer’s chat room.
Employers could host a virtual information session, share presentations, or invite a student to a private chat. University Career Services also hosted a chat room where students were guided by members of the Career Services team.
“We are ready and available to help our students navigate through these challenging times,” said Paulette Gonzalez, Executive Director of University Career Services. “We offer individual advisement—online or by phone, employer connections, informative programming, and a collection of invaluable resources.”
Tiffany Daniel, a senior in the Physician Assistant program, made connections with a number of employers, including American Red Cross and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“It was such a great opportunity to network,” she said. “The advisors in the St. John’s Career Services room were a tremendous help. One has a contact at CityMD and offered to make a connection.”
Angelena Low, who is a History and Psychology double major, participated in the Career Fair from her home in Brooklyn, NY. A sophomore at St. John’s Staten Island, NY, campus, Angelena sought internship opportunities.
“I am interested in either exploring a career in psychology, particularly working with children with intellectual disabilities, or going into law for child advocacy,” she said. “I used chat rooms to talk to employers from the Peace Corps, United Nations, and AmeriCorps. Several law enforcement agencies also reached out to me via email regarding job opportunities.”
She added, “I even learned about jobs and career fields that I might have not been aware of beforehand. Overall, the best part of the career fair was that I could be in two places at once.”
Joan Ampah, a representative from the United Nations’ Office of Human Resources, was impressed by the St. John’s students with whom she connected. “Students were engaged and attentive during our presentation, and they asked relevant and very targeted questions that pertained to their specific career goals,” she said. “They are a well-educated, ambitious, and focused group.”