The 22-year-old marine safety and environmental protection major consulted the map and company descriptions the night before the college's career fair and color-coded her strategy. She highlighted with pink the employers she wanted to target first. She used purple to mark those businesses that may want someone with her academic background.
"I went in the fall and was kind of overwhelmed," said Johnson, who wants to land a health and safety job in the offshore drilling industry.
Johnson, from Chatham, attended another job fair at the college but didn't winnow the list first.
The job fair, a decadelong affair at MMA, drew 97 employers Thursday. That set a record for the fair, planners said. Last year's event drew more than 80, said Maryanne Richards, director of career and professional services at the MMA.
"This is a big day for the students," she said.
The event drew a wide range of employers, including oil drilling companies, shipping firms, all branches of U.S. military, universities and energy companies.
MMA president Adm. Richard Gurnon said companies used to visit the campus individually. But with a tight and rigorous academic schedule, companies often couldn't maximize the number of students.
"If they didn't pick the right day, they couldn't get students in the door," Gurnon said in an interview earlier this week.
The college focused on the traditional at-sea jobs such as onboard deck and engineer officers more than 20 years ago, Gurnon said.
Since then, the university has diversified its majors to include emergency management, marine safety and environmental protection and energy systems engineering. This expanded possible maritime careers into many land-based careers.
Students often get multiple job offers from the contacts they make at the job fair, Gurnon said.
"They will bring with them more jobs than we have graduates," he said.
Donald Silvia, director of system operations at Veolia Energy, said the South Boston-based firm attends both the fall and spring job fairs at MMA.
Silvia, who graduated from MMA, said the company often finds good candidates from the college, including facilities and marine engineers and staff for its environmental and safety department.
"The graduates that come out of here are very well-rounded," he said.
Johnson, the Chatham resident, visited nine employers. She scored an interview and was specifically told by two others she would be receiving a call from them. While the event was still "chaotic," Johnson said her approach worked.
"Narrowing it down definitely helps," she said.
Cape Cod Times, April 5, 2013
By Robert Gold
last updated 4-6-13 by firstname.lastname@example.org