Career conference prepares ’Cats

Josh McLaughlin

Career Services is putting on its second annual Cat Career Conference this weekend to help students plan for their futures.

Taking place Saturday, Nov. 1, the day-long conference was put together with the intent to teach students how to prepare for life after school.

In order to help as many kinds of students as possible, the event has been divided into two separate tracks: the beginners track for first and second year students, and the job-seeker track, for junior and senior students, Steven LaFond, assistant director of career services, said.

“It’s designed for students at all levels here at NMU,” LaFond said.

The beginners track of the conference focuses on finding a suitable major or finding the right job. The job-seeker track focuses more on finding an ideal job, as well as how to prepare for it. The event starts at 10 a.m. with free donuts and coffee.

Each session is roughly an hour long with 10-minute breaks and lunch at 12:30 p.m. After the event, the Alumni Association is sponsoring free headshots for students.

Sally Osentoski, an NMU alumna, participated in the conference last year. She said the reason she participated was because she was nearing graduation and wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to find a job.

“I had hoped to gain experience working with the job market,” Ostentoski said. “I knew I wanted to stay in the Marquette area after graduation, but I was very overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. I had high hopes of gaining the skills I needed to successfully find and secure a great position after graduation.”

There will be a number of presenters, including Jim Gadzinski, director of the academic and career advisement center, Lafond said. Gadzinski will be presenting on interview skills and what to do after a job application is submitted.

Gadzinski said he became a presenter this year so that he could give students advice that would help them find jobs. He plans to do so regardless of where they are with their plans for the future.

“I just want to impart the knowledge of interviewing on students, even as freshmen,” Gadzinski said. “I do it so they can have a leg up on any competition for finding a job.”

Gadzinski also said he believes the conferences is extremely helpful to students.

“We wouldn’t be doing it a second year if it wasn’t a good project,” Gadzinski said. “Students the previous year received some good information and provided great feedback.”

Other workshops at the conference include a resume builder, a graduate school informational session, a career and job search timeline and a networking session.

Osentoski said she greatly benefited from the conference. She said she found the resume and networking sessions to be the most helpful.

“I’ve never networked before and speaking with the presenters was very beneficial because it started the networking immediately,” Osentoski said. “The resume building was also beneficial because it’s difficult to create an eye-catching resume. I found it super helpful to work with fellow students to prepare ourselves for the future.”

Upon hearing that another conference would be taking place, Osentoski agreed it was a good idea. She highly recommended students participate.

“I certainly recommend students attend the conference this year,” Osentoski said. “I thought the first conference was very successful so I can’t imagine how great it will be this year. Each speaker I attended gave me valuable knowledge that I have used to help further my success in finding a full time position after graduation.”

Shortly after graduation, Osentoski received a job offer from the Michigan Works! office in Marquette. She credited her success to a valuable connection she made at the conference.

Registration is limited to 100 students. Currently, 82 students are already signed up to participate in the conference. Students can register online on the Career Services website.