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Students brave long lines to secure future employment

By : Dani Richards

Faced with growing concerns over securing employment following gradu- ation, Binghamton University students dressed to impress and waited in long lines to talk to dozens of company representatives during the bi-annual Internship and Job Fair, sponsored last week by the Career Development Center.

“I’m still trying to decide whether I want to get a job or go back to school,” said Ken Schafenberg, a senior studying electrical engineering.

The approximately 36 organizations that attended the event consisted of a mixture of local and global companies in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors. More than 1,850 students attended the event, said Bill McCarthy, CDC associate director.

McCarthy said that he often sees the event as being an important introduction to the reality and competition of finding a job. “Many of these students have never been to a job fair, and really don’t know that there are so many other people competing with them for jobs,” he said.

During the daylong event, several long lines formed in front of high-end financial firms, including Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual Finance Network and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, with students attempting to learn which firms were eager to hire students and what education levels would be needed. Many company representatives said that a student’s major is not as important in the overall hiring process since many of the firms offer training for entry-level positions.

“As long as you bring the necessary tools, like a good GPA and lab experience, we will hire you and train you to do anything you need to know,” said Lance Huskin of the Coral Gables, Fla.-based Stiefel Laboratories, which attended the fair to attract biology, chemistry and biochemistry majors.

Huskin said Stiefel also offers a professional development plan within the company for its lab technicians, and offers full-tuition reimbursement to further their education.

Several representatives said that their companies offer room for advancement, even for those graduates with only bachelor’s degrees. Many representatives said they were searching for students with hands-on experience.

Internships have also proven useful in job searches. According to Job Outlook, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that 80 percent of employers use experiential education programs to recruit their own workforces.

Still, there might be more required to securing employment than just education and experience, said Jeannie Toscano, a Geico representative.

“Be positive, be open, be flexible,” Toscano said. “You might find yourself in a job or career that you never would have imagined yourself and also love it.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08