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First ever Opportunity Fair hits UW-River Falls

February 4, 2015

The first ever Opportunity Fair will be held at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center, and will feature 72 different on-campus jobs, internships, summer positions and volunteer opportunities.

“When I look at the list of the organizations attending, one of the things I’m incredibly impressed with is how much true resume-building is comprised in the 72,” said assistant director of Career Services McKenna Pfeiffer.

Because this event offers so many different opportunities, Pfeiffer admits that coming up with the right name for this event was a difficult process.

“There are so many things that we’re trying to categorize and it couldn’t sound anything close to the Career Fair,” Pfeiffer said. “From the title, people might not know all that it encompasses.”

This event is a partnership between Career Services and Student Life, and will replace what used to be the “on-campus job fair.”

“It’s great to collaborate. You can make great experiences for students versus having all of us do a bunch of work for all of these separate events,” said Student Life Service Coordinator Amy Lloyd. “It would be less exciting to walk into a room of 10 people’s tables versus 72. It’s being strategic and working across campus with other departments.”

The Opportunity Fair is open to all students, but will be targeted towards those still looking to build their resumes.

“I don’t really have anything to put towards my resume, so attending this event would be a good start,” said freshman student Michael Funes.

Students will find this event to have a relaxed feel and are encouraged to come as they are. Professional attire is not required. For students who may be nervous when speaking to professional representatives, Communication Studies Professor Steve Phalen offered some helpful advice.

“Acknowledge that nerves are okay,” Phalen said. “Understand that these professionals are here because they want to be and have an interest in you. Also remember that they are people too.”

When students are speaking with professionals, they should also keep in mind that the first impression is important. Students are encouraged to create a “30-second commercial” for themselves consisting of their name, major or minor, and potential career interests.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator Lisa Thompson, who will be attending the event, said: “When I speak to a student for the first time I look for someone who is enthusiastic, clearly interested and curious.”

The event will provide students the opportunity to enhance their professional communication skills and network through speaking with organizational representatives.

“When speaking to representatives, confidence is important,” Phalen said. “Be honest about your goals, strengths and weaknesses. Try and reframe your weaknesses so they become possibilities that can benefit you and the employer and grow from them.”

Organizations attending will be from the local area, River Falls, Hudson, Stillwater and Woodbury.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn what’s out there, specifically in this community,” Pfeiffer said.

Students are encouraged to attend because they have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

“It’s really important to gain experience,” Lloyd said. “It’s important to do well in the academic world, but a lot of people do well in the academic world so how are you setting yourself apart? These are all things that undergrads need to think about.”

For more information about the fair, go to: www.uwrf.edu/CareerServices/EventOpportunityFair.cfm.