Students seek employment opportunities at winter job fair

Emily Chin, Assistant Campus Editor

About 1,500 students crowded into the Louis Room at Norris University Center to look for jobs and internships this week.

Northwestern Career Advancement hosted the 2015 Internship and Job Fair on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. NCA hosts similar fairs several times each year. They start planning a year in advance, by sending invitations to organizations and seeing if they are a good fit for students.

“Our goal is to create an event that is broad-based that involves lots of opportunity to our students in different career fields,” said Mark Presnell, executive director of Northwestern Career Advancement.

Presnell said there are two types of companies who typically come to the career fair: small companies that want to be seen and high-profile companies, such as Pepsi and Adobe Systems, who are competing for “top Northwestern students.”

Presnell said he thinks the career fair went well, as there was a good student turnout and almost 100 percent of the companies who signed up were present. Students were able to build relationships and promote what they’re interested in, with the hopes of getting a step closer to an internship opportunity.

“They gain a good understanding of a company’s culture and what it’s like to work for that particular company,” he said. “They gain an understanding of the opportunities available at that firm including very specific deadlines for internships and full-time careers.”

The Internship and Job Fair also provides students with an opportunity to promote themselves and learn how to market themselves best, Presnell said.

“They develop an understanding of how to talk about their strengths as an individual and communicate their interest in a company or organization,” he said. “That’s a very key skill for a students to be successful on that job search.”

McCormick second-year graduate student Hao Wu went to the fair to find a job in engineering.

“We have more opportunities to talk to the recruiters,” he said. “Hopefully my resume will impress them and they’ll remember me.”

Alice Harra, director for employer relations at University Career Services, encouraged students to come to the fair to explore their options and not limit themselves to a specific area or company. One way to do this is by looking at smaller companies.

Rita Gibson, marketing communication manager at Bemis Company, Inc., a food packaging company, came to the career fair to educate students about her company. Because Bemis is not as well known as other companies, students who work there have more access to the company’s leadership, she said.

“We’re looking for someone who can apply their education at NU and for someone who can help to transform the company,” she said.

Gibson is recruiting at schools like NU to stay connected with the new batch of graduates coming into the job market.

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