Medill and Communication students network at career fair

Alex Rudansky

Students and alumni, dressed to impress, funneled through the entrance to Norris University Center on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Medill & School of Communication 2010 Career Fair.

Norris’ Louis Room hosted more than 40 companies and organizations interested in recruiting Medill and Communication students and alumni. Companies included The Associated Press, Time Inc., CNN, Bloomberg LP and Café Media, LLC.

“The pull is the reputation of our students,” said Jim O’Brien, director of career services for Medill. “Most of the companies who come are repeat participants. They know what to expect in terms of what kind of student is at Northwestern and what our students can do.”

Paula Thornton, who graduated from Medill Winter Quarter, said she attended the fair to seek out potential employers who are interested in hiring permanent employees, not just interns.

“I’m not sure how interested they are in hiring for pay, but I’m certain there will be a number of Medill and Comm. students who will walk away with jobs,” Thornton said.

Medill senior Samantha Leal said she has held numerous unpaid internships and is looking for a post-graduation paying job.

“A salary would be good,” she said. “Just some kind of compensation for your work. There’s just not that much available.”

Medill junior Lauren Cole said she attended hoping to find a summer internship and found a few employers she is interested in working for.

“It can be a little uncomfortable, but it was a useful experience,” she said. “It’s a little intimidating. There are so many other people here who are just as qualified or even more qualified than I am. That’s hard.”

Cole said waiting lines for more “coveted” employers, such as Time Inc., were long and not worth her time.

“It was not plausible for me to wait an hour to speak to Time Inc.,” she said. “I have class.”

Still, Cole said she spoke to interesting people and gained networking experience.

This is the first year Medill and the School of Communication have teamed up for such a job fair, said Kate Neal, director of external programs, internships and career services at the School of Communication.

“Comm. students and Medill students have similar career expectations and goals, so we’re very happy to be hosting the fair together,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for students to network and gain experience talking to employers.”

Neal said there is some overlap in communication and journalism jobs, and she said hosting a joint fair is beneficial to students, alumni and employers.

“It’s important that alumni be able to take advantage of the opportunities Northwestern has to offer,” Neal said. “We’re very interested in helping our alumni, and this fair is especially good for recent grads because most of the positions are internships or entry-level jobs.”

O’Brien said preparation is “key” to success at any job fair.

“There’s not a lot of time with each recruiter, so you need to maximize that time,” he said. “You need to give a quick sense of who you are and consider the skills you’ve developed throughout your education. Journalism students don’t tend to shout from the mountain tops about themselves, but at these things it is important to showcase your skills.”

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