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Ready For the Real World

April 1, 2011

“The Real World.”

When today’s college students hear this popular expression, for some, it evokes feelings of excitement and anticipation.

But for others, that expression strikes a wary chord of apprehension, which is why BMCC’s annual Career Fair is a must-attend event for those students in particular.

The Career Fair provides current students an opportunity to learn about different foundations and organizations throughout the five boroughs who are hiring volunteers, interns, or full- and part-time employees.

The Spring 2011 Career Fair was sponsored by the Center for Career Development, The College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (COPE) Program and Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP).

Approximately 45 employers set up booths in the Richard Harris Terrace, eager to meet BMCC students seeking employment in a variety of industries.

Employers at the Career Fair included New York State Police, Volunteers of America, FDNY and the New York State Department of Civil Service.

“According to a recently released report by The National Association of Colleges and Employers the job market for 2011 college graduates looks positive in all regions of the country,” said Melba Olmeda Amaro, Director of the Center for Career Development.

“Employers are expected to hire 13.5 percent more new college graduates from the class of 2011 than they did from the class of 2010,” she said. “BMCC students are fortunate to be part of an institution that is a recognized nationwide for awarding associate degrees.”

Looking the part

Although BMCC students of all majors were encouraged to register for the Fair, the predominant focus was on careers in the Human Services, Education and Health Services industries.  

Prior to the Career Fair, interested students reviewed and finalized their resumes with a Career Services counselor. Additionally, they attended the Career Fair—stack of resumes in hand—dressed in business attire.

“When meeting potential employers, it’s important to look the part” said Driada Rivas, Career Coordinator.

Meet and greet

Liberal Arts major David Larosiliere had a lengthy discussion with NYPD Recruitment Officer Edin Herrera.

“I’m interested in Criminal Justice and thinking about transferring to CUNY John Jay,” said Larosiliere. “Officer Herrera answered some questions I had about the NYPD exam, which I have completed, and about criminology.”

He also mentioned that the Center for Career Development helped him polish his resume. “I think it looks pretty sharp and impressive,” he said.

According to Officer Herrera, a 2-year degree is acceptable to work for the NYPD. “However, it never hurts, in my opinion, to gain as much formal education as you can,” he said. “There can be greater opportunities for you in the NYPD if you have a higher degree.”

Students for hire

"I advise students to speak confidently when they meet potential employers,” says Shemeka Peters, an Employment Relations Specialist at BMCC. “It’s important to leave a lasting impression, to stand out. Additionally, students shouldn’t be discouraged by their 2-year degree. We’re very close to the financial district here at BMCC and local companies are hiring. They are familiar with BMCC because it’s in the neighborhood, and they want to hire our students.”

Student Yesenia Santos filled out a job application at a table set up near the Richard Harris Terrace.

“I enjoy working with kids and often babysit my brother,” said Santos, a Liberal Arts major. “I’m interested in jobs pertaining to childcare. I happen to be bilingual, which will work in my favor when seeking employment.”

Company incentives

ASAP student and Liberal Arts major Egzona Krasniqi talked with “lots” of company representatives at the Career Fair. She currently works at a clothing boutique.

“In general, I enjoy talking to people, and this Fair provided me the opportunity to see what types of job are available in today’s economy,” she said. “It’s also important to see what incentives companies are offering employees.”

One company that caught her eye was looking for a teaching assistant. “I was definitely interested in learning more about that opportunity,” Krasniqi said.

Criminal Justice major and ASAP student Joudi Menefah also found the Career Fair helpful.

“Attending events like this is great for interview experience,” says the aspiring detective. “I noticed students were very engaged in discussions with recruiters, which was encouraging to see. In today’s economy, we’re all looking for jobs, we’re all in the same boat, and that’s why networking is so crucial. The more people we meet, the better it is for all of us.”



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  • Students’ resumes are reviewed beforehand by career advisors
  • Students are encouraged to dress professionally
  • Some students filled out resumes on the spot for job opportunities

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