By- Jonathan Mejías
The job market in Puerto Rico might be real tight, but it didn’t stop hundreds of students from losing their hope to find a job at the 5th Spring Job Fair that took place in the Rafael Mangual Coliseum at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez.
Tables, posters, presentations, loud music, surrounded by green and white colors everywhere, that was the setting of the Job Fair this past February 22nd , 2013 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Certainly, the Placement Office, located in the Student Center, is responsible for organizing and running the event. The staff mission is to serve as a bridge between students and companies.
Evidently, the reason why they created the Spring Job Fair in 2007, was to provide current UPRM students and alumni more possibilities with their job hunting process.
On this occasion, the fair welcomed around 30 companies and federal agencies -less than last year when 36 recruiters visited the university. NASA, General Electric, Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Blackberry, the US Census Bureau, among others, were some of the companies recruiting.
“We had less participation this year but we reached the target by finding more than 25 different companies for the students. So it was really successful for us,” said Nancy Nieves, director of the Placement Office.
For the first time in the Job Fair history, local companies had greater participation than foreign companies. Furthermore, some of them came for the first time to offer a variety of jobs and internships for the students.
Naturally, in order to participate, all registered companies and federal agencies were required to pay a certain fee to the Placement Office. Meanwhile, for the companies that couldn’t pay the enrollment, the department offered them some arrangements to let them participate as well.
On the other hand, all students had to be registered in the Placement Office Web page, submit their resumé and turn in five printed copies before the job fair.
According to the Placement Office, companies have shown interest in UPRM students because they certainly know about the quality and prestige of the institution. However, when searching for the perfect employee they are not only looking for a good GPA, but also individuals who can show leadership and initiative.
Nowadays, thanks to the competitive job market and the tough times that our economy is facing, students require extra work and convenient job search strategies.
“We have to review our English skills, do some research of the companies and pick up our best clothes to make the best first impression. Appearance is very important because hopefully we will be representing not only ourselves but also a whole corporation or industry,” said Rose Sepulveda, physics student.
Even though the mission of the Placement Office is to provide the best and most effective service to students, they cannot deny that companies show greater interest for science and engineering students.
“Recently, a member of the Student Council from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences came here and brought us a few concerns and issues about the lack of job opportunities for non-engineering students. We had a talk and he assured us to bring some proposals, but we’re still waiting,” said Margarita Carlo, assistant director of the Placement Office.
“The best way to give more opportunities to all students, is with the cooperation of our own UPRM students. If they found an offer or did an internship they should let us know and help us to spread the word.”