The Nichols Athletic Center was filled on Wednesday afternoon, February 20th, but not by the usual Nichols teams and fans who regularly support their classmates from the bleachers.
For one thing, the uniforms looked different on this day, as more than 300 Nichols seniors, juniors, and sophomores—all wearing business attire—made their way through more than 70 stations occupied by a wide range of potential employers. And victory on this mid-winter day took the form of acquiring knowledge about the career search, not to mention getting leads to internships and full-time jobs.
The Nichols students and employers, who covered the spectrum from financial services and non-profit management to law enforcement, were gathered for the annual Nichols Career Fair, organized by the school’s Office of Career Services.
Financial company First Investors, which specializes in life insurance and retirement planning, was making its first appearance. “We’re casting a wider net,” said First Investors representative Michelle Onorio, who was impressed by the knowledge of the students whom she had met. “They knew who I was,” she says. “And they had done their homework.”
The well-dressed Nichols undergraduates, including junior Colleen Coleman, questioned and conversed with the array of recruiters. “It’s really exciting to see these different companies and the opportunities for internships,” she said, adding that since she was graduating a semester early next year, she was also on the lookout for job opportunities.
Coleman pointed out the table for the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. “They want your resume, but you also need to say something that stands out and to explain how you can contribute,” she said, adding that her background producing events on campus and helping to pick the speakers matched up well with the Program and Events Coordinator position that the Chamber was seeking to fill.
The Hanover Theater in Worcester, which is well-known for presenting events from classical concerts to Broadway musicals, sent a representative in search of interns who were marketing or management majors. That non-profit organization has become a regular at the Career Fair and has taken on a number of Nichols students as interns.
There were also an unprecedented number of law enforcement agencies present, according to the fair organizers, testimony they say, to the strength and growing reputation of the Nichols Criminal Justice Management program. The state police from most New England states sent recruiters, as did a wide range of federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security force, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division.
Recruiter Melissa Brezniak, dressed in the full regalia of a Connecticut state trooper, found the Nichols students she met poised to take the next step in finding a job. “They have a good idea of what they want to do and how to get better prepared,” Brezniak observed.
The reputation of the college’s Sport Management program drew a return visit from the United States Tennis Association’s recruiter Sarah Rice, who presided over a table bedecked in colorful tennis rackets. While Rice was looking to fill a fulltime position in marketing, she was also on the lookout for able interns. “Since the Sports Management major is so popular here, we figure that this is the place to look,” Rice said. “This is the only career fair that we go to.”