Job Fair improves student prospects

Robert Thomas

KKjobfair
The posters are up, the employers are ready and students from all majors will gain valuable contacts and skill-building experience at the Fall Job Fair. (Kristen Koehler NW)

For students looking to land that grown-up job or internship, make some professional contacts, practice interview skills or just get some exposure to their field, NMU’s Fall Job Fair could be a critical first step.

The fair takes place 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 in the Great Lakes Rooms at the University Center. With over 50 employers and at no cost to students and alumni, the event provides an excellent opportunity for students who give a “hoot” about their future.

Steven LaFond, assistant director at the Career Services Office on campus, encourages all students to check out the job fair, adding that events such as this are not just for upcoming graduates.

“If you look at the employers and what they are recruiting for, they actually have part-time, local jobs, summer jobs, internships, as well as permanent jobs,” LaFond said.

This year’s line-up of employers covers a range of career opportunities, including engineering firms, healthcare and financial services, law enforcement and government agencies, technology and communications, military recruiting and even non-profits, according to the employer list on the Career Services website.

LaFond said about 60 employers will sign up to attend by the time Wednesday, Oct. 9 rolls around.

“Students can go to the Cat Career Tracks system and see who is going to be there, what majors they are interested in and what positions they are looking to fill,” LaFond said.

According to LaFond, many companies return year after year encouraged by the high quality of potential employees found at Northern.

For students who intend to expand their education beyond the typical four-year plan, the job fair also offers opportunities for various education programs here at NMU and at other institutions. Representatives from Indiana Tech Law School, Michigan Tech Graduate School and the University of Toledo College of Law will give students the chance look outside of the NMU community for postgraduate experience.

Here at home, NMU’s International Program and the W.L. Cisler College of Business afford students the chance to experience diverse cultures or devote themselves to the world of business, respectively.

Senior marketing major Daniel Croney is set to graduate by the end of the winter 2014 semester. He intends on using the Fall Job Fair as a way to transition directly from school into the business world.

“As a marketing major, I feel its very important for me to meet new and potential employers within my field,” Croney said.

“And by going to the job fair,  I can hopefully make those contacts and connections that will allow me to immediately begin my career without any hesitation,” Croney said.

The array of career opportunities that the Fall Job Fair provides requires that students not simply wander the aisles of booths within Great Lakes Rooms hoping that someone bestow upon them the opportunity of a lifetime. Research and preparation, LaFond said, are essential to making the most out of events such as this.

“A job fair can be extremely useful for a job-seeker because you utilize face-to-face contact with individuals who actually have the power to get you an interview,” LaFond said. “It’s an incredibly time-efficient event.”

Beforehand, students should research the companies that will be attending by visiting their websites and figuring out what they are looking for. With this information, students can prioritize employers according to their qualifications and desires.

Job fairs are events in which prospective employees can market themselves to companies and organizations looking for fresh faces.

Dressing appropriately tells employers a student can function in a professional setting and is serious about improving his or her future.

“This is a professional event,” LaFond said. “It’s best to dress up because you might get an interview right at that time.”

The Career Services office is available to review student’s resumes and will even print them out on professional-quality paper free of charge. It adds a degree of professionalism that employers might not expect from a college student.

“It’s useful for any student to attend a job fair to see what kinds of job possibilities are out there, where they are located, and how much they pay,” LaFond said. “Since there are a number of employers there, you can make multiple contacts in one day.”