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Career Fair draws local businesses

October 12, 2006

Each year dozens of eager employers and other representatives flock to campus in search of UW-River Falls students to fill internships, classrooms and career positions.

This year the annual Career Fair, hosted by Career Services, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in Karges Gymnasium.

This year the Career Fair will host 105 organizations, including a range of employers and graduate schools. 

“There are a variety of options available to students,” Recruitment Coordinator Melissa Wilson said. “New students can see what it’s like for next year – every student is invited and welcome.”

The options include getting information from employers and graduate schools, networking with professionals, finding information to assist in choosing a career path and learning about potential career opportunities, internships and summer positions.

“A lot of students don’t realize the number of graduate schools [attending],” Wilson said. “It’s a good place for students going to further their education.”

Students, who are unsure of how to approach the Career Fair, can attend one of two informational sessions called Career Fair 101. The sessions are being held Monday from 12:20 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and Tuesday from 4:05 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Kinnickinnic Room of the Student Center. 

Career Services will also be available in the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., giving free résumé critiques and distributing information about the organizations that will be present during the Career Fair. The list of organizations can also be viewed online at the Career Fair Web site.

A list of tips provided by Career Services for preparing for the fair include researching the companies, updating resumes, practicing answers and developing 60-second commercials. 

“I think a lot of students don’t go to the fair because they don’t know what to say,” Wilson said. “This gives them the confidence.”

For students unable to attend these sessions, Wilson said the best approach is to be prepared, have three to five places you know you want to talk to, and make sure you have your 60-second commercial – your pitch to the representative about why you are a good candidate for employment.

Employers at the fair are looking for a variety of things, Wilson said. 

“They want a River Falls graduate,” she said. “They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t want our students.” 

Other than that, important skills employers are looking for often include strong written, verbal, critical, and analytical thinking and time management skills.

Tracia Gimbut, a student intern and coordinator of the Career Fair, said this year an attempt was made to reach more local businesses. Student suggestions from last year were also considered so the event would be more student-centered. 

Both representatives from Career Services agreed that the Career Fair is a good place to meet one-on-one and make contacts. Wilson gave the example of using an internship as a way to see what’s out there. 

“Even just going to network is worth it,” Wilson said, adding that one recruiter was so impressed with a sophomore that the résumé is being held until that student graduates.