More than 400 students attend career fair

Students+interact+with+prospective+employer+at+the+Career+Connection+expo.

Photographs courtesy of Tiffany Chin

Students interact with prospective employer at the Career Connection expo.

Cole Moriarty, Features Reporter

On Feb. 16, the gymnasium at The Recreation and Athletic Center was filled with rows of booths where employers gathered for the Career Connections Expo, sponspored by the career centers at UIS, Lincoln Land Community College, and ITT Technical Institute. Employers attended in order to connect with students seeking internships, part- or full-time positions or seasonal employment. “Chart your course” advised the tip sheets provided to students by the Career Development Center.

“I was extremely pleased with the event and grateful for the team effort that made the event possible,” said Kristin Nisbet-White, who serves as an employer development and informatics liaison with the Career Development Center.

“It was wonderful to see a large number of students participate,” Nisbet-White added.

According to Nisbet-White, 420 UIS students attended the event. Additionally, of the employers attending the job fair, the majority had full-time opportunities, and about half had internship or part-time opportunities available.

Armed with name tags and wearing business casual or better, hundreds of students navigated through the rows of booths, making their way from one end of the room to the other bearing business cards, fact sheets, and pens with employer’s logos.

The event, held from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., was made possible in part by the “advantage partners” who helped sponsor the event.

WUIS/NPR radio was one such partner, searching for full-time positions of sales rep, harvest reporter, and digital/social media.

Another was Northwest Mutual, a financial services company offering internships and full-time positions. Amanda Ledage, a Northwest Mutual representative, said they had a top-ranked internship and “that’s why we’re here.”

Beyond the first row, a variety of employers were arrayed: the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, the U.S. Border Patrol, Marshals, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sangamon County Sheriff, and the Decatur Police Department.

Various other government agencies were also in attendance, including: the Department of Health and Human Services, Illinois Office of Audit Services, Illinois Legislative Information office, Illinois Office of the Auditor General, Illinois Prison Review Board, Springfield Public Schools, and the Social Security Administration.

Financial companies were also present, including Prudential, Edward Jones, and consulting groups such as Capitol Strategies Consulting. The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois were also in attendance and were offering cookies.

Another booth was manned by Manpower, a staffing company with 3,500 offices in 80 countries, which has, on any given day, 630,000 people on assignment. As a temp agency, they came searching to fill positions such as maintenance technicians, administrative assistants, data entry clerks, and welders.

Mercedes Werries, a staffing specialist, said the day had been “really good.” She stated that she and her partner, Diana Shreves, had received “quite a few resumes” and “had some interviews.”

Saurabh Gupta, a freshman international student from India majoring in management information systems, said that he was “looking to connect” and “here to network.”

With his future career in mind, he added that he was “looking forward to when I graduate, what kind of career options I will have in the market.”

Tulja Pawar, an accounting graduate student who’ll get her degree in the fall of 2016, came to search for summer internships, and was pleased with the chance to “get to learn a lot about organizations” such as Sikich and Heinold, which are two accounting firms.

“I like it, employers over there are very friendly,” Pawar said.

In all, the expo served as a proximate space in which the somewhat anarchic, organic, and chaotic marketplace that employers and job seekers find in the real world was helpfully organized into neat rows and human faces in front of banners and informational paperwork.

Students who may not yet have been initiated into the often complex socialization within the arena of hiring were presented with sheets such as a sample thank-you letter to send to employers they may have met with, or the “elevator pitch” quick guide, explaining how to present one’s professional persona in a quick and efficient manner, all of which served to make unwritten and sometimes unspoken rules understandable.

The UIS Career Development Center maintains an ecosystem of resources and avenues of connection, available through their office or online at https://www.uis.edu/career/