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Career Center preps for job fair

Joseph McMahon | Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Employers and students seeking to become their employees will meet Wednesday in the Joyce Center for the Fall Career Expo – an event that will bring hundreds of recruiters to campus and anxiety to juniors and seniors who will vie for summer internships and full-time positions.

But the Career Center, which is organizing the fair, has been helping students prepare to make the right first impression on their potential employers.

“We have been working with students, helping them prep their résumés, setting up interview workshops,” said Lee Svete, director of the Career Center. “Basically, if the students have done the work we laid out, they will be more than adequately prepared.”

The Career Center has focused on helping students find the companies that best match their interests and research the available opportunities there.

More than 700 representatives from 196 global, national and local companies will be at the event recruiting upperclassmen and graduate students. Of these 700, a few are first-time attendees, including Google, AT&T, Chevron, CDS International, Egon Zehnder Consulting, HSBC, Maersk and Citadel – a testament to the Career Center’s continued growth over the last years.

“We have come a long way from when we had just fifty companies, ten years ago,” Svete said.

However, some students in past years have voiced concerns over the diversity of the companies that come to recruit. Many Arts and Letters students, especially history, English and journalism majors, have struggled finding companies that recruit students who specialize in those fields.

Most of the companies that come to the career fair, they say, look for business students. But the lack of employment opportunities for Arts and Letters students may actually be inherent to the craft rather than a result of the Career Center’s handling of the event, Svete said.

“This is simply a problem with these type of fields. Newspapers and museums do not know who they want to hire next summer right now, while the business world is much more planned out and therefore they can start recruiting in the fall,” Svete said.

Nonetheless, Svete pointed out that many liberal arts-based institutions, including the Smithsonian Museum, Weber Shandwick (a large public relations firm), and the Field Museum, will be in attendance.

Moreover, he said, this is by no means the final recruitment opportunity for students. Svete said in addition to the winter fair and Time Warner and NBC-hosted special events for students possibly interested in covering the Beijing Olympics, the Career Center will also host five off-campus fairs in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. over breaks in the school calendar.

And the student body seems to be responding well to the Career Center’s efforts. Overall, 3,800 students have officially registered for this event since Aug. 23, Svete said.

Senior Michelle Brintnall, president of the Marketing Club, said she’s been pleased with the Center’s outreach programs and its events leading to Wednesday’s main event.

“I think the Career Center is doing an excellent job of preparation,” she said. “They have reached out to the student clubs, like the Marketing Club, to really reach the students in an effective manner. Not a day goes by that I don’t get an e-mail promoting the fair, or résumé reviews, or giving advice. I also utilize walk-in hours and appointments with the Career Center counselors.”

Brintnall said she’s looking heavily into marketing firms based near her hometown of Minneapolis, namely Target and General Mills. But some of the companies on the Fall Expo’s roster might make her think globally.

“There are new overseas opportunities opening up,” Svete said. “With foreign companies like CDS International and Maersk coming, I don’t see why an overseas internship wouldn’t be possible.”