JWU Providence Students Impress Recruiters at Career Fair

Each semester, employers from a variety of leading companies come to JWU for the Food & Hospitality Industry Career Fair. They are looking for the best and brightest candidates to fill a range of positions — it’s not just for culinary or hospitality students. All students are encouraged to attend because there are many networking and career opportunities for different fields — even restaurants need accountants and marketing experts!

Career preparedness is a key component of a JWU education. We go beyond just connecting students with job opportunities; we provide them with résumé-worthy experiences that will set them apart from other candidates. As they network with recruiters, they can confidently showcase the skills and abilities they’ve learned in their courses.

Compass Group USA, a leading foodservice company, was a platinum sponsor for the event. “Our team likes to recruit at Johnson & Wales because the caliber of the students is top notch,” says Brenna Hart, a Compass Group recruiter who attended the fair. “It is amazing to see how passionate the students are about their chosen industry and as recruiters, that's one of the top attributes that we look for in potential candidates.”

An overhead view of the Career Fair
JWU Students Stand Out to Recruiters

In addition to Compass Group, there were 96 other employers attending the fair to network with students and share job opportunities they are actively looking to hire. Many of the recruiters at the event were JWU alumni who know firsthand the power of a JWU education and how it prepares students.

“I might be biased, but JWU students have a little bit more grit,” said Melissa Green ’05, an alum of JWU’s Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management program. She attended the fair as a recruiter for Davidson Hospital Group.

Other alumni recruiters had similar praise for the drive that our students have. “JWU students bring a unique perspective of hard work and understanding that we don't see in a lot of the other universities in the region,” said Sodexo recruiter Timothy Sheehan ’11, a Culinary Nutrition alum. “They’re hungry and eager — they want to leave a mark on everything they touch, which is the reason that we enjoy coming and recruiting here so frequently.” 

Thanks to our renowned reputation in both culinary and hospitality education, JWU is a favorite spot for recruiters in these fields. “I love the passion and dedication that JWU students bring to culinary, baking and pastry, and front of the house [operations],” said Lauren Wetzel, the recruiting manager for Kiawah Island Golf Resort. “They always show up prepared, and I appreciate that from an employer's perspective.” 

“Johnson & Wales students get into the kitchen, and they are just pumped,” added Culinary Arts alum Scott Popovic ’98, a recruiter for Nestlé. “They just go — there is no hesitation. They just go into the kitchen, and they know how to work.”

A woman shaking hands with a man

Why Every Student Should Attend a Career Fair 

“I think students should attend this — even if they are only sophomores — just so they can start networking and even get information about internships so they can see what is out there for them,” said Jay Ibarra ’24. The Media & Communications senior was excited to see that The Boston Beer Company was present so he could chat with them and apply for one of their open positions.

“If nothing else, the one thing students should be coming here for is the internships,” added Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship senior Nathan Pasco ’24. “You need to get your name out there so you can find your opportunity and maybe even find your job.” 

In between the networking and job seeking, students also visited the professional headshot and Career Closet station at the fair. The Career Closet, a resource that is always available at Experiential Education & Career Services, offers a selection of business attire that students can borrow for professional photos or interviews. This station made getting a professional headshot much more accessible for students — it’s a resource everyone should take advantage of! 

Recruiter Advice for Students

Recruiters also offered some great advice for students who are looking for a job or internship. “Remain flexible, but hold your ground,” said Melissa Green ’05. “And make sure you go to a company for culture over anything else.” 

“The biggest piece of advice I would offer to students is keep an open mind,” added Timothy Sheehan ’11. “You never know what's going to happen and what your career will evolve into. If you want something badly enough, use your creativity to find a way to manifest it into reality. The drive that you have now as a student is the drive you should have throughout your entire career. Always be hungry for that next level, because you never know what that opportunity is going to create.” 

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A man talking to several JWU culinary students