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Career Blast connects employers with students

Hannah Cohen/Collegian

Throngs of students looking to connect with a wide range of businesses brought resumes and personal schedules to the Campus Center yesterday for the University of Massachusetts’s fourth annual Career Blast. Students hoped to secure call-backs and interviews for a variety of job offerings, ranging from full-time positions to summer internships.

Organized by Career Services, the Career Blast hosted 145 businesses in and around the Campus Center Auditorium and gave interested students an opportunity to meet with representatives from a variety of businesses, from large global corporations to smaller local companies.

The Career Blast has grown  since last year, with the number of businesses participating increasing from 98 last year to 145 businesses this year. A variety of different kinds of businesses were represented, ranging from large, global companies like MGM and Amazon.com to smaller local organizations, like Amherst-Pelham public schools and to non-profit organizations like the U.S. Political Initiative Research Group. Many businesses listed specific majors in their scope for potential connections, but most simply listed “all majors.”

“We’ve seen a lot of consistency, a lot of new companies and a lot of representation of many different industries,” Brian Frenette, assistant director of Field Experience at Career Services, said. “I think this trend shows the direction the market is heading.”

Many of the companies at the Career Blast said they chose to come to UMass because the large student population tends to yield a high number of qualified candidates for open positions in many different fields, from computer programming to marketing to technical writing. Many businesses, like IBM, are attracted by the school’s strong reputation in computer science.

“For several years UMass has provided us with many top-performing employees,” Lorcan MacGrath, First Line Manager for IBM, said. MacGrath also represented the company at UMass at last year’s Career Blast. “We have about 15 to 20 people from UMass working for us who we connected with at the career fairs here … and I would say that well over half of those people would be classified as ‘high-performing employees.’”

Smaller businesses, like the Pioneer Valley based independent game company HitPoint Studios, also draws from the large number of students at UMass to fill its open entry-level positions. For smaller companies like HitPoint, which has about 50 full-time employees, the goal is finding the right people to fill its few open positions.

“While we look for people who have a strong background in game design and programming, what we really want a potential employee to demonstrate is passion doing what we do: making games,” HitPoint’s Human Resources Director Christina Gay said.

For students, the Career Blast is a chance to get resumes in the hands of potential employers. Many are looking for full or part-time positions after graduation, while others seek summer internships and co-ops.

Conor Snell can be reached a csnell@student.umass.edu

 

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