By Jessie Craig, Department of Career Services
This September, ICE hosted its bi-annual Career Fair and Networking Reception. Over the years we’ve seen many changes in career trends here at ICE. With changes in the job market as a whole, and with the introduction of new programs at the school (Hospitality Management, Cake Decorating and Bread Baking) in addition to our long-established programs (Culinary, Pastry and Culinary Management), we find ourselves hosting students and alumni with a multitude of backgrounds and career goals. We see alumni with extensive career histories seeking alternative careers within the industry that will allow them to merge their diverse talents and experiences, and seeking part-time work in addition to full-time kitchen careers; and current students find themselves focusing mainly on the curriculum’s Externship program, which they hope will launch their budding careers.
In response to these emerging trends, ICE has greatly expanded the scope of our Career Fair. We host twice as many employers as we did a mere three years ago in 2010. We encourage our exhibitors to come with an open mind so that they may find an alumnus who could fulfill a non-traditional role that they’ve had difficulty filling, or an eager current student with the potential to be molded into their future star employee. We no longer invite just the big restaurant groups to join us, but also include hotels, consulting companies, caterers, online job resources, and networking groups.
As for our students and alumni, we encourage an attitude of preparedness and exploration. The Career Services department hosted several “Career Fair Prep Sessions” leading up to the big day. Career Services Advisors held one-on-one meetings not only to refine resumes, but also to discuss individual career goals and approach tactics. We want each and every attendee to understand that they are a unique individual, and feel prepared to go after their dream job in the industry by having the necessary information and tools to create a well honed career pitch.
On the day of the Career Fair, close to 150 students and alumni attended to meet with industry chefs and HR directors and explore current and future opportunities. Exhibitors represented all facets of the industry, and included such recognizable names as Dinex Restaurant Group, Craft Restaurant Group, Union Square Hospitality Group, Spice Market, Momofuku, Abigail Kirsch, Club Med, Four Seasons New York, Harri.com and many more. We excitedly continue to hear back from attendees who found an opportunity to trail or interview for a new opportunity, and from employers who were able to find a good fit for their company.
If you are one of our alumni, please join us for our next Career Fair and Networking Reception in the spring, and feel free to reach out to the Career Services Department for any current or future career guidance!