Career Preparation Continues with Annual Spring Career Fair

The O’Brien Center for Career Development hosted its annual Spring Career Fair on Wednesday, March 22.  Nearly 400 students attended the event at various points during the afternoon, making it one of the most well-attended Career Fairs since its inception.

  • Alum from CDM Smith discusses career opportunities with students attending the Merrimack College ...
    Alum from CDM Smith discusses career opportunities with students attending the Merrimack College Annual Spring Career Fair
    Kevin Salemme

Nearly 100 companies were on hand to represent a cross-section of industries purposefully aligned with students’ majors and career interests.  The companies, which included CDM Smith, Watts Water Technologies, Putnam Investments, Partners HealthCare, AECOM, Liberty Mutual, Eastern Bank, Salem Public Schools, WinterWyman and YMCA of the North Shore, among others, were seeking to fill both internships and full-time positions. 


“The diversity in companies represented at this year’s event reflects our ongoing efforts to continue deepening Merrimack’s relationship with our corporate partners,” offered Jay Caporale ’87, vice president of corporate and foundation engagement. “We have recognized these relationships are important in introducing our students to experiential learning and internship opportunities and ultimately being able to offer more and better job opportunities. We are grateful to our corporate partners and local companies who have recognized the value of a Merrimack education and are able to enhance our students’ experiences.”


Alumnus Dan Borges ’13 spent the afternoon representing CDM Smith, an engineering and construction company in Boston which provides solutions in water, environmental, transportation, energy, and facilities projects. Borges and other employers will now return to the office with a list of candidates they plan to follow-up with directly. To assist in next steps, the O’Brien Center will continue to host on-campus interviews through the end of April.  Several students left yesterday’s event with next steps, including several interview offers, firmly in place thanks to a strong first impression noticed by Borges and others.


“I was always pushed to do that one thing in particular that would make me stand out,” Borges recalled of his own Merrimack experience.  “I always remember the faculty and staff encouraging you to make yourself stand out.  And there were some students today that definitely had picked up on that, and I noticed. The students were all really well prepared. I think that’s what gives Merrimack its reputation.”


That level of preparation is achieved through intentional programming offered by the O’Brien Center.  For two days leading up to the event, career advisors were available in the Sakowich Campus Center to assist students with resume review and professional etiquette. Other students had further refined their skills by previously attending one of the College’s two Professional Development Retreats earlier this year – a two-day event designed to build emotional intelligence and skills to assist in professionalism, communication, and networking. 


For junior Julianna Martinez, a Health Science major with a Nutrition concentration, the Career Fair offered her an opportunity to put into action the skills she learned while attending the February 2017 Retreat. Martinez described herself as comfortable and confident heading into the event.


“I went to the Professional Development Retreat because I knew this wasn’t my area of expertise, so I was hoping with that opportunity I would have more knowledge about how to present myself as well as what kind of questions to ask employers to get my foot in the door,” Martinez said, citing the elevator speech portion of the Retreat as particularly helpful to her conversations at the Career Fair.  “That was helpful because I knew going in today that I was able to speak about myself without having to read off a sheet of paper.  I felt like I knew how to present myself, make eye contact, and shake a hand.”


Several Merrimack students currently participating in internships at companies represented at the Career Fair had the unique opportunity to stand on the “other” side of the table and participate in the recruitment of their peers.


Senior Kaylee Foderaro, a Human Resources Management minor, has interned at Watts Water since November 2016 – just one of several students who obtained an internship through connections made during the Fall 2016 Professional Development Retreat. Foderaro works 15-20 hours per week, where her time is focused on university human resources.


“It was fun to be at the Career Fair and be on the other side,” Foderaro said.  “I love the company, so it was nice to talk to people about what Watts Water does and give them, hopefully, potential internships and jobs.”


Foderaro, who estimated she spoke with nearly 15 students on her own in addition to the many more who visited the Watts Water table, will continue at Merrimack in the fall as she plans to enroll in the Health and Wellness Management Graduate Program.  She attributes the level of preparedness she felt interviewing at Watts to the Merrimack difference.


“I think that Merrimack does a good job with overall preparedness,” she remarked.  “Everyone today was very friendly and introduced themselves right away and even knew about the company.  They didn’t just pass out their resumes, they really had gotten to know the company and were very articulate.”