Northeastern’s sig­na­ture co-​​op pro­gram drew more than 2,600 young job seekers and 220 employers to the university’s bian­nual career fair, where stu­dents landed full time posi­tions and recruiters praised Northeastern’s expe­ri­en­tial learning model.

The event was held Thursday in the Cabot Center and was spon­sored by Northeastern’s career devel­op­ment office, which has received best-​​in-​​the-​​nation acco­lades in The Princeton Review’s annual col­lege rankings.

From noon to 4 p.m. stu­dents handed out resumés, honed their net­working skills, and exchanged busi­ness cards with scores of employers, including sev­eral non­profit and gov­ern­ment agen­cies. One of them was Patrick McMahon, S’16, who strode into Solomon Court in pur­suit of his per­fect pro­fes­sional match.

I’m looking for a co-​​op in med­ical imaging,” he said, noting that he had com­pleted his pre­vious expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity at Har­vard Appa­ratus, the Massachusetts-​​based man­u­fac­turer of spe­cial­ized phys­i­o­log­ical research lab­o­ra­tory equip­ment. “Hope­fully I can turn my next job into a career.”

McMahon, a fourth-​​year bio­med­ical physics major, intended to hand out copies of his resumé to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of more than a dozen employers, including Philips, the multi­na­tional tech­nology com­pany. “Attending the career fair is so much easier than sending cold emails,” he said. “You’re imme­di­ately able to get your foot in the door without knowing anyone.”

Maddie DiLullo agreed. “I want to get my name out there and then follow up,” said DiLullo, DMSB’19, who was looking for a co-​​op job in human resources or public rela­tions. “I’m trying to develop my skills and branch out.”

Co-​​​​op is the sig­na­ture pro­gram in Northeastern’s century-​​​​old expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion model, which com­bines rig­orous class­room learning with real-​​​​world work expe­ri­ence. During the 2013–2014 aca­d­emic year, the uni­ver­sity placed stu­dents in more than 9,800 co-​​op posi­tions with more than 2,900 employers worldwide.

Employer rep­re­sen­ta­tives who attended the fair praised Northeastern’s co-​​​​op pro­gram for preparing young job seekers like DiLullo and McMahon for the working world—and one even offered two seniors a job on the spot.

Tom Valen­tine, the tech­nical recruiter for eClin­ical Works, the pri­vately held leader in ambu­la­tory clin­ical solu­tions, noted that his firm employs a score of North­eastern grad­u­ates and co-​​op stu­dents each year. “We’ve always recruited from North­eastern,” he said, adding that he was looking to hire Java devel­opers with strong com­puter sci­ence skills. “North­eastern stu­dents have better tech­nical exper­tise than stu­dents from most other schools.”

Kameron Kirk is a soft­ware engi­neer for Pix­a­bility, an ad buying and video mar­keting plat­form for YouTube. He said that sea­soned co-​​op stu­dents pos­sess a unique blend of soft and hard skills, making them the per­fect fit for Pixability’s mar­keting and quality assur­ance posi­tions. “They know how to behave in meet­ings and write emails asking for help on projects,” he said. “Often, they’re looking at big pic­ture questions.”