Jobs fairs can be terrible. Here’s a new way students can reach employers

The Door of Clubs founders.
The Door of Clubs founders.

When he walks into career fairs, Northeastern senior Courtney Johnson knows he’s just one of hundreds of students who hope their resumes, firm handshakes and broad smiles will make an impact on potential employers. But Johnson has found that most career fairs follow a similar pattern: Nervous students have a few seconds to deliver an elevator pitch and a resume to an overwhelmed businessperson, who has shaken the hands of hundreds of hopefuls that day. Everyone is stressed, and neither party wins.

A new website called Door of Clubs, which launched on Thursday, hopes to modernize the traditional networking process by directly connecting employers with students like Johnson, who is president of Northeastern’s Black Engineering Student Society.

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The society is just one of many organizations that’s registered for Door of Clubs. The site was founded by Pranam Lipinski, an Endicott College graduate, who wanted to create a way for members of clubs—specifically those from diverse backgrounds—to network directly with potential employers. Lipinski feels that traditional college recruiting methods, like career fairs, are ineffective.

College grads face a grim job market. More than 80 percent of college students graduate into the world of unemployment. Those who do eventually find jobs are “underemployed,’’ or working in fields that don’t require their degrees. A study from the consulting firm Accenture found that 49 percent of students who graduated in 2013 and 2014 consider themselves underemployed.

Right now, Lipinski said Door of Clubs is focused on connecting tech and engineering clubs, as well as some general business clubs, with companies such as Venmo, Pandora, GitHub, Sony Pictures, HubSpot and TripAdvisor. Each interested organization fills out an online profile, which will allow them to directly communicate with each other to arrange for company representatives to visit club meetings.

The site allows employers from across the country to view the students’ profiles, which will describe their skills and interests, so they can recruit them for jobs that aren’t in the area where the students go to school.

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Lipinski said they’re focused on recruiting clubs because they’re smaller groups of highly motivated students who have specific interests.

“Instead of eating wings and drinking beer on Wednesday nights, they’re talking about tech or finance,’’ he said. “These are students who are spending their spare time trying to learn and build things and that’s who companies want working for them.’’

Lipinski said club members are also attractive to employers because they can form around a shared trait. More than 300,000 students who are women or from minority backgrounds are also club members, he said.

“That definitely works in our favor,’’ Johnson said. “We’re a minority engineering society and a lot of companies want to give opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds, so this site will let them reach us directly.’’

And, if the site works as Lipinski hopes it will, Johnson and other aspiring STEM workers can escape the anxiety-inducing career fairs this year.

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