Connecting at career expo
Two tall stacks of blue and red balloons, each topped with a shiny red star-shaped balloon beckoned nearly 1,000 of Fresno State’s future professionals to attend the Spring Career and Internship Expo at the Satellite Student Union.
The two-day expo took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over the two-day period, almost 100 potential employers set up camp inside the SSU with their attractive designs and slogans, in hopes of finding the next big thing for their companies. These companies ranged from packaging giant PepsiCo to a local certified public accountant (CPA) firm CBIZ MHM.
Heels and dress shoes clicked across the floor as students dressed in business attire made their way from table to table, exploring their possible futures. They carried folders packed with their up-to-date resumes. Each wore a blue-bordered nametag sticker on which their first and last name, major and anticipated graduation date were written.
The first day saw roughly more 50 employers and 500 students, whereas the second day saw slightly fewer numbers. Despite the lower turnout, the interest and enthusiasm crackled in the air like static electricity as students and employers alike put their networking skills to use.
“This is great practice for creating new connections, networking, and it allows you to have a chance at finding that internship that will help you get started,” said Marian Mikhael, an international business major.
Mikhael graduated in fall 2011, but admitted that it is a matter of taking baby steps to get to where she wants to be. She said not only is it important to know how to sell yourself, but one must be confident and leave a positive first impression.
An internship in your field can be difficult to find, especially in something as competitive as imports and exports on an international level, Mikhael said. She added that it is normal to feel nervous and to feel like you are running out of words, but the important thing to do is maintain eye contact, stay confident and composed.
“Even if you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t need a job yet because I’m not even graduating this semester,’ it’s still a great opportunity to meet people and make connections,” Mikhael said.
Even if you are graduating this semester, do not fret, said fellow Fresno State alumna Kari Morris.
“I got this job two days before graduation,” she said with a laugh.
Morris, who has her degree in human resources, with a business administration option, has spent the last seven years since graduation with Sunrise Medical, a wheelchair manufacturing company. The company is international and seeking potential employees for every position, including those at its Fresno location.
Morris advises students to take advantage of internships in their field because they help build professional experience, which is much desired by most employers out there, she said. Internships also provide students with the opportunity to practice what they want to do for a living by exercising their knowledge.
“Don’t be afraid to ask any questions or to talk about yourself. Be enthusiastic, and always keep your resume recent because you never know when those networking connections are going to put in a reference for you. You want to be ready,” Morris said.
Students interested in learning more about résumé building or finding and applying for internships and jobs are encouraged to visit the Career Services Center in Room 61 of the Thomas Administration building. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. General inquiries can be answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 559-278-2381.
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