The Cahill Career Center hosted a networking roundtable event for students on Wednesday in the School of Social Science and Human Services intended to help students meet potential employers and learn about careers that may interest them.
There were 15 employers in attendance whose primary function is helping people in need. Among the organizations in attendance were the Allegro School for Autism, Bergen County Division of Family Guidance, Mental Health Associations of Essex and Morris Counties, The Arc of Rockland and West Bergen Mental Healthcare. The Teaneck Police Department and the Mahwah Board of Education sent representatives as well.
Students were encouraged to meet one-on-one with the professionals attending and ask questions about organizations’ missions and practices.
“Networking is a key skill nowadays and we want students to be able to hold a conversation and develop relationships that may lead to opportunities,” said Danielle Graziani, the career advisor who organized the event.
Students were provided a list of questions to help them break the ice as they met with the different employers.
“It was nice to see the employers in person and shake their hand,” said senior Jamie Woods.
Woods attended the event to meet with a specific employer but ended up finding a volunteer opportunity with another organization.
The Cahill Career Center focuses on networking forums like this to assist students in finding internships and full-time jobs upon graduation.
“More jobs and internships are found through networking than are advertised online,” said Beth Ricca, director of the Cahill Career Center. “We provide students with the venue to practice this important job search skill and meet professionals in order to help them succeed.”
Experts say that the hidden job market, meaning jobs not advertised, represent anywhere from half to two-thirds of all jobs available. That means students must be comfortable approaching employers in person and being able to express their interests and the value they can bring to an organization.
An important networking tool for students is the development of an “elevator pitch,” which is a practiced 20-30 second introduction that is used to create interest in oneself. Students will use their elevator pitch at career fairs, interviews and networking events like this.