Career Fair to host over 200 employers

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Reanna Husaynu

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Reanna Husaynu

Constance Turnbull

The Grand Valley State University Career Center will host the first Career Fair of 2015 on Feb. 24 at the DeVos Place Convention Center. All GVSU students are encouraged to attend the free event, which will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Organizers of the event have arranged over 200 employers offering over 8,000 diverse opportunities for internship and employment for GVSU students.

GVSU career fairs are organized mainly by Susan Proctor, Career Center employer development manager. Proctor works with a team of staff to make sure the event runs smoothly. This team also works closely with the employers who will attend the event to plan aspects of parking, lunch, the set-up and location of booths.

Megan Riksen, assistant director of the Career Center, said a lot of the work that goes into planning the Career Fair is the promotion of the event to students and alumni.

“I conduct classroom presentations and pass out fliers in prime student traffic areas throughout multiple buildings and campuses,” she said. “Our entire staff pitches in at the event itself.”

The event is not necessarily just for students who are currently job seeking. It is also a place for students to explore types of careers and companies to potentially work for.

“The event will offer thousands of immediate internship and job openings,” Riksen said. “It offers a great opportunity for networking face-to-face with great companies and organizations.”

The Career Fair is set up so students can easily locate potential employers. Organizations will have separate booths, and maps will help students locate companies they may be interested in visiting.

Riksen said she hopes students will walk away from the event after meeting future employers with whom they can continue a relationship. Those who have attended will gain information about the companies attending and the opportunities offered, and will potentially get offered a job or internship, she said.

GVSU student Nick Westrate obtained an internship at Aflac Insurance after speaking to his future manager at a previous Career Fair.

“I got contacted and interviewed by many employers who were interested in offering an internship,” Westrate said. “I loved the management at Aflac and the internship program they provided; I learned a lot this summer.”

The internship taught Westrate how to prospect, create leads and set appointments with HR departments. He learned how to perform employer presentations and give group presentations for employees, he said.

Westrate, who will graduate in April, said his internship with Aflac has given him an advantage when searching for job opportunities after college.

“I currently have two full time offers from employers in the financial adviser and insurance industry,” he said. “If you want to land your dream job, an internship is definitely a must to give you that experience and edge on your competition.”

However, in order to have an advantage over other candidates when searching for job and internship opportunities at the Career Fair, students should come to the event prepared.

“I was professionally dressed and had over 40 copies of my resume on hand,” Westrate said. “I also had my 30 second elevator pitch ready because I believe that that’s the amount of time you have to impress a potential employer. First impressions are a big deal; you have to set yourself apart from your colleagues.”

The event, which is sponsored by Auto-Owners Insurance, will not require registration. However, students should be professionally dressed, have their student ID card available and expect to sign in upon arrival.

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