BY ERICA MILOSH
Resumes in hand and decked out in professional attire, 400 job- and internship-seeking students recently met with over 70 employees at the annual Nichols College Career and Internship Fair. Held in the College Athletic Center on Feb. 23, 2016, the students (and even some local residents) were prepared and eager to find their dream job.
The Career and Professional Development Center recently released the Class of 2015’s employment statistics. The annual graduate survey of the Class of 2015 shows that 92 percent of graduates are employed, enrolled in graduate school, or enlisted in the military.
Brian J. Levitre, recruiter for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, attended the fair and met with several Nichols students, whom he praised.
“I am so impressed with how prepared Nichols College students are,” Levitre said. “They meet with the recruiters at the fair, having already done their background research on the companies and agencies, and are polished and professional.”
Many businesses—such as MAPFRE, Mohegan Sun, and The Walt Disney Company—have had recruiting representation for several years at the fair. The event also attracted fair newcomers like The Bozzuto Group, GEICO, and Newport Hotel Group to come and explore what makes Nichols students desirable employees.
MAPFRE, a global insurance company based in Webster, Mass., has hired numerous Nichols graduates, and is looking for call center representatives, claims representatives, as well as applicants for available internships.
Casey Frank, senior international business major, works part-time in MAPFRE’s customer service contact center. “I started as an intern last summer. It’s a really wonderful learning environment; when you have a question, people are happy to help you.”
As a newcomer to the career fair, Newport Hotel Group set up at the fair in hopes of finding motivated hospitality management majors. The group’s hotels are located throughout New England, with one location in Wyoming.
“We’re looking for individuals who are interested in creating a career in hospitality. We have a lead manager in training program that is about a yearlong program where people can rotate positions within the hotel,” said Human Resources Coordinator Nicole Pytell.
GEICO, also new to the fair, is one of largest auto insurers in the U.S., operating for over 75 years. Nicholas Pasquale, a 2014 grad who received his MBA in 2015, is an auto damage adjuster at GIECO.
“Being in the management development program with Geico absorbs all of the aspects of the business world that I learned here at Nichols,” said Pasquale.
Randall Filighera, GEICO’s college recruiter, described his ideal applicants.
“What we’re looking for are leaders,” he said. “Students who have good grades, but also have a little bit extra. Do you run a club on campus? Are you an athlete on campus? Those types of things go a long way.”
Unum, a disability insurance company, had two Nichols graduates representing their business. Matt San Clemente and Steven Colon—who both graduated last year—work at the Worcester, Mass.-based company, dealing with supplemental insurance policies.
San Clemente, service specialist at Unum said, “My experience at Nichols led to this opportunity.”
Steven Colon, IDI workflow coordinator, has worked at Unum for almost two years. “I’ve learned a lot through my position and use my Nichols experience to form relationships and broaden where my future goals are.”
Alumni also offered valuable advice for their fellow Bison. They urged students to never be intimidated by potential employers and stressed the importance of networking and forming work relationships.
Mackenzie Walsh, a 2012 Nichols grad, is the division director for Office Team of Robert Half in Westborough, Mass. Office Team is currently looking for temporary summer employees, a staffing manager, and a recruiter.
“The best thing I love about Nichols grads is that they’re motivated, energetic, they know how to be a team player, and the biggest thing is that they’re professional.”
This was the fourth year that the Career and Internship Fair offered to take free professional headshots. Students can use the photos for their LinkedIn profiles or portfolios.
Every student attending the fair appeared prepared. Junior criminal justice management major, Amanda Alarcon, had some helpful tips to share about making the most of the fair. “Find a way to make yourself memorable among hundreds of people. Confidence is key; show the companies what you can do for them.”
John Reilly, a sophomore finance major, was looking for investment companies for portfolio management. He credits his Professional Development Seminar (PDS) course for preparing him for the fair. Every student is required to take a PDS course every year from freshmen to senior year- the seminar is designed to prepare students for college, the working world, and surviving after college. During junior PDS, it is mandatory for students to attend the fair and communicate with employers.