Career Center hosts nearly 200 companies at career fair

Courtesy / NIS
2012 GVSU Career Fair

Amanda Pitts

Courtesy / NIS 2012 GVSU Career Fair

Ben Glick

With graduation season fast approaching, many students can finally look forward to earning their degree after years of hard work. So now what?

On Feb. 11, Grand Valley State University will host the winter career fair to help answer that very question. The event takes place in the DeVos Place Convention Center on Monroe Avenue from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The biannual event is expected to draw attendees of all class standings and majors to the nearly 200 companies representing a variety of fields and industries. Some of the companies include Spectrum Health, IBM, Wolverine International and Fox 17 News.

Students and alumni who plan to attend should expect to bring resumes and dress appropriately for a professional environment.

Beginning this semester, the career fair is offering a career exploration time beginning at 12:15 p.m. Here, participants will take part in a less formal, relaxed event that will help them get the most out of their career fair experience.

“You’re probably only going to get two minutes with these companies,” said Susan Proctor, employer development manager at the Career Center. “In general it’s best to project yourself as best as you can and put your best foot forward.”

Students who are interested in taking part in the career exploration time will be shown how to construct resumes and navigate the environment.

Even if graduation is still far off, Proctor said it is important that students begin thinking about their futures.

“It’s never too early to start thinking about your career,” she said.

The companies in attendance represent an estimated 8,000 internships and full-time positions that are potentially available to attendees. The advantage in attending the fair is evident when roughly 1,400 people are expected to take part.

However, that does not mean that it is easy to land a job the first time one attends the fair. Mitchell Grewer, who will graduate in December 2014 with a B.A. in Management Information Systems, attended three semesters of career fairs before landing an internship for Cargo.

“Attending the fair helps a lot,” he said. “The goal of an education is to get a job, and the best way of doing that is getting your name out, but you have to stand out, and a big part of that is to get as much face time as possible with employers.”

Interacting with as many employers as possible increases a student’s chances of landing a job or internship in their field, even if it isn’t in the industry they might expect.

“There are some things that you may not expect,” Proctor said. “There are a variety of jobs offered by different industries. An engineering firm may need someone who’s good with communication and writing, and health providers may need technicians.”

But even if students do not end up attending this semester’s event, they are encouraged to speak with their career advisers who help to build resumes and pick classes that will help them become more marketable.

The career fair has been successful in the past, and Proctor said GVSU students have an advantage in the workplace.

“Employers interact with the university because they think that Grand Valley students are especially well prepared,” she said.

But that still leaves the rest up to the student, who is responsible for taking the initiative and seeking out career opportunities early.

“A lot of students will put off thinking about their careers until graduation, but we can help you gain experience and find opportunities that are applicable to your academic pursuits,” Proctor said.

For a full listing of employers that will attend the event or more information on scheduling a visit, view the Career Center website at