Lehigh’s Startup Job Fair, on Feb. 27, 2020, provides students and employers with a space to discover opportunities available in startup companies. Many students attended the event as a way to explore internships and jobs. (Courtesy of Lehigh University)

Startup Job Fair opens opportunitues for students

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Startup culture is expanding as students increasingly look for internship and employment opportunities in smaller and newer companies.

Featuring seven companies, Lehigh’s Startup Job Fair allowed students and employers to discuss the different environment of startups on Feb. 27 in Williams Hall.

 Unlike larger job fairs with employers from long-developed companies, this job fair was successful because it focused on the startup culture. 

Opportunities for internships and employment were the driving forces for many of the students attending the event, although the Startup Job Fair attracted a multitude of students for various reasons.

“It is interesting because a lot of the startups here are not necessarily from my home area, but San Francisco actually has a lot of startup companies, so I want to expose myself to the whole dynamic,” said Olivia White, ‘21. 

Some students attended to increase their contacts with companies to prepare for future endeavors. 

Julius Wibisono, ‘20, said his goal was to build his network, though an added bonus would be to get a job offer.

“I know a lot of people can lead to different opportunities and open new doors,” Wibisono said. 

The companies at the event included CapSource, Factory LLC, Rocket Cloud, Skillion Bikes, Svadhi, UBMe and Vericred, all of which are made up of 50 or fewer members. Each startup gave a three-minute presentation on who they are, why they are special and what they are looking for in students. 

Youssif Hussein handles the sales for Rocket Cloud, a technology organization that helps industrial wholesalers with online sales, and he described what the company looks for in students.

“We are very focused on the major that each student is pursuing,” Hussein said. “We are looking for business analysts, data scientists and software developers. Having people who understand and enjoy technology makes the environment of our startup really great to be a part of.” 

The startup culture is a rapidly growing trend among companies that allows the chance for entrepreneurs to grow their ideas and work in tightly knit groups that share both the values and missions of the company.  

“We’re changing the market and shifting a whole industry,” Hussein said. “We are the future.”

The employers for Vericred, a data company that focuses on bettering the healthcare experience, emphasized the importance of the startup culture.

Marlena Sarunac, the director of marketing for Vericred, said most students want to make an impact wherever they work. She said this is possible when working at a startup.  

“They can actually get their foot in the door and start contributing to the overall wellness of the company immediately, as opposed to just being another part of the ladder of a big corporation,” Sarunac said.

Vericred founder Michael Levin said for potential employees or interns, he looks for intelligent students who can communicate well 

As a Lehigh alumnus, Levin was excited to converse with multiple students that he suspected would fit his criteria to be a member of his data company.  

The preparations that each student took were diversified according to their motives. 

“I looked up every company on Handshake and LinkedIn to get a sense of who they are and what kinds of positions they’re offering,” said Larrisa Miller, ‘20.

In comparison, White said she just wanted to experience the event and gain exposure. 

Samantha McGinty, the media and marketing specialist at Lehigh and head of the Startup Job Fair, said there were benefits of attending the event. 

“The fair is a smaller event by design in order to make stronger connections and avoid the overpowering atmosphere that may be present at larger job fairs,” McGinty said. “It’s always good to work on networking skills. Even if you make a connection with someone that doesn’t lead to a job, they may know someone who will provide an employment opportunity in the future.”

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