For engineering students trying to land their first career opportunity, the Sept. 17 STEM Job Fair was the place to be. The annual fair attracted hundreds of job-seeking students, as well as nearly 100 hiring companies ranging from large corporations to government agencies to up-and-coming startups and in between.
Students waited patiently in long lines to turn in resumes to recruiters at Boeing, which maintains a strong presence in the region, and Facebook, which was making its first appearance at a Cal State University Long Beach job fair.
But there were many other potential employers too: Raytheon, Siemens, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, P2S Engineering, Tesoro Co.—the list goes on.
“Is that the line for Hyperloop?” asked one computer science senior excitedly, referring to Hyperloop Technologies, a company hoping to use an Elon Musk technology to develop a transportation system to shuttle people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes flat.
There were as many approaches to tackling the job fair as there were companies. Some students geared up by researching companies extensively and tailoring resumes to target employers, while others planned to fire off resumes electronically to companies they didn’t know much about. Likewise, some stuck to t-shirts and shorts, while others swapped out casual attire for stylish suits, ties, and jackets. One thing that virtually everyone seemed to have was a folder crammed with resumes.
Employers said they weren’t just looking for engineering graduates—but for promising candidates. And what constitutes a promising candidate? According to 1995 CSULB civil engineering grad Lalo Jiminez, now construction manager at Webcor Builders: “Someone who’s eager and willing to learn; someone who listens.”
Jiminez wasn’t the only CSULB alum staffing the employer tables. Only five years ago, Daniel Boller graduated with a CSULB B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Now he’s a new products manager at Extron Electronics. Boller said he was at the job fair to fill a CAD designer position, and knows that CSULB’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program offers excellent training in CAD.
Project engineers Tom Wadden and George Pecerra, both CSULB civil engineering graduates, are now project engineers for SUKIT. Barely two years ago, Pecerra was on the other side of the table applying for an internship. SUKIT, like most other companies, was just looking for “a few really good candidates”—and only two hours into the job fair, had connected with some promising prospects.