Career Fair to highlight employment opportunities

GVL / Archive
Thuy Nguyen, Accounting major.

GVL / Archive Thuy Nguyen, Accounting major.

Ben Glick

It may not be a stretch to say that the ultimate goal for university students is to secure employment, especially in the fields of their study.

To facilitate that goal, the Grand Valley State University Career Center is hosting a Career Fair, which will take place Oct. 21 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the DeVos Place Convention Center.

The event, which is free and open to students and alumni, will host 230 employers, with over 8,000 potential employment and internship opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines.

Employer Development Manager for the Career Center, Susan Proctor, said employment is an important factor as students near the end of their academic careers, but they should feel confident about the emerging job market which has experienced an unexpected increase this year.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming response in terms of employers coming this year,” she said. “We’ve actually sold out three times, we anticipate 235 exhibitors and have a 20 company waiting list at this point and time. There’s a lot of available jobs and internships, so obviously it’s a job hunter’s market right now for sure.”

According to Proctor, an improving economy and the resurgence of the auto industry in Michigan has also played a role.

“It’s the best job market I’ve seen in a very, very long time,” she said.

The improvement in the economy does coincide with the 2013-2014 Accountability Report done by the university to judge students’ return on investment.

According to the report, students graduating from GVSU have an employment rate in Michigan of 81.4 percent, and 71.5 percent in West Michigan specifically. However, whether those students are currently employed in their field of study is unclear.

While all fields are being represented at the fair, this upsurge in employment openings comes mainly from a growing need for employees in business, medicine, engineering and manufacturing.

“There should be opportunities for any student regardless of what their major is,” Proctor said.

This is an important time for employers, she added, because businesses are trying to fill positions for the coming spring and summer after graduation.

“I think that more companies are starting to recruit more and more students early,” she said. “Even if it’s an internship for next summer or graduation in April, this is really when organizations are trying to recruit and hire students in the fall. Which how nice is that to finish up the rest of the school year and know you’ve got something secured potentially next year already?”

Proctor said students are surveyed every year before they come to school and the top two reasons for why they’re coming to college is to get a better job after graduation and learn the skills to help them become more employable.

“So for us, this is a natural progression that involves every student that comes here to really help them reach that ultimate goal,” she said.

Proctor added that students should dress professionally, have a resume prepared and do their research beforehand on employers they want to make an impression on – even if it is only to get information.

“Even though it is a good job market out there, the best and brightest candidates are going to be the ones that know something about the employers,” she said.

The event is sponsored by GVSU and eight other institutions of higher learning such as Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University and Hope College.

While pre-registration is not required, attendees will be expected to sign in and should bring their student ID.

For more information on the event, visit