Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management and the university’s Career Center hosted the first Hospitality Career Expo in a virtual format on Feb. 16.
The expo utilized Handshake, an online application that connects college students and alumni with job and internship opportunities and offers an end-to-end platform for sourcing, engaging, and hiring with talent employers.
Despite this adversely difficult time for the hospitality industry, 31 employers participated in the 2021 virtual career expo, providing students with some much-needed job-seeking relief.
“This version of the career fair allowed me to talk to recruiters from all over the country and they were all very nice and encouraging, which made me feel at ease,” said Katherine Beatty, a Cal Poly Pomona hospitality management student.
The Collins College, ranked No. 12 in the world on CEO Magazine’s list of “Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the World for 2020,” regularly attracts some of the most highly regarded companies in the business to its career expo.
On Handshake, recruiters spoke with 179 students in either group or one-on-one sessions. During the event, there were 391 one-on-one sessions scheduled and 44 group sessions allowing students to speak with participating companies.
“There are many opportunities to connect with companies throughout the year, but the Hospitality Career Expo brings them all together to showcase part-time, full-time, internships, seasonal opportunities and management training programs,” said Ann Lara, the Career Services Coordinator for the Career Center and The Collins College. “Students who attended had the chance to connect with dozens of companies looking to hire for positions now and when they graduate.”
Hospitality Management Council (HMC) president, Irina Grigorian felt the virtual format enabled her to manage her time better and schedule sessions with recruiters accordingly.
“Instead of wandering around the fair and looking for employers, I was able to create a more structured schedule for myself which made the process a lot easier to follow,” said Grigorian.
For the duration of the career expo, HMC student leaders hosted a virtual “Green Room” help desk where they offered drop-in Zoom sessions for students to troubleshoot with Handshake, practice their elevator pitches, discuss talking points, and ask questions before talking to employers.
In previous years, a program called “Best of the Best” allowed each employer to award up to two lapel buttons to the students who put forward their best hospitality spirit. Since physical buttons were not an option this year, these star students will be showcased on the “Wall of Stars” webpage with a Best of the Best designation on The Collins College website.