Career fair provides opportunities

Okay, seniors. The time is approaching when many of you will be released from the loving arms of Puget Sound and will enter the big wide world of the nine-to-five. Of course, Career and Employment Services tries to provide several resources to make this transition a little bit smoother, one of which is the upcoming career fair on Thursday, Feb. 28 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sue Dahlin, CES’s Assistant Director for Career Advising, believes that the Career Fair is an opportunity that students shouldn’t miss.
“The Career Fair has always been my favorite event put on by CES because I love the energy in the room and the excitement from both students and employers as they interact,” Dahlin said.
Several new employers will be attending the fair this year, including The Center for Toxicology and Health, an environmental consulting firm that Dahlin says would be ideal for students studying Environmental Policy and Decision Making or the natural sciences. Another employer, Physio-Control, is a medical device company run by Puget Sound alumni and is searching for paid interns. Tableau Software, which Dahlin says is “one of the fastest growing companies in Washington,” will also be present at the fair.
CES encourages everyone, not just those searching for employment, to attend the career fair. Employers who offer part-time work, internships and seasonal jobs will be attending as well.
Dahlin suggests that students who are not looking for a job use the career fair as a practice run to get accoustomed to shaking hands, asking questions and to scoping out jobs for the future.
“You never know what might spark an interest,” Dahlin said. Sean Colligan, a recent Puget Sound grad who now holds a job with one of the employers who has attended the career fair, shared his experiences with finding a job on the CES website.
“The Career Fair itself was very useful. Lots of people are there with a wide variety of positions, and all of them are interested in hiring Puget Sound students,” Colligan said.
However, acquiring a job isn’t always easy and it often takes a lot of hard work. Colligan said he was rejected by nine internships before he was hired. He suggests always taking business cards and always thanking employers for their time.
“Prepare ahead of time. Practice as much as possible, plan your lines out in advance, practice the smile and the handshake,” Colligan said, “networking is stagecraft in a lot of ways.”
Dahlin suggests dressing professionally, preparing a résumé and thinking about what to say to employers. If students enter their information on the Career Fair page of the Puget Sound websites, CES will print out a professional-looking nametag for them to wear on the day of the fair.
For most of our lives, we have seen headlines boasting terrifying stories of freshlygraduated college students drowning in student loans and searching tirelessly for any type of employment. Understandably, searching for a career may be daunting. However, Dahlin offers the career fair as a way to make an impression on employers in a relatively intimate environment.
She attests that employers actually do hire students at the career fair (Prodigy Resources hired four students the last time they participated).
Dahlin presents the career fair as an opportunity, not an obligation, saying, “There aren’t many times in your life when a room full of people gather expressly to hire YOU—why would you miss out on that?” More tips on how to prepare for the career fair and detailed descriptions of participating employers can be found at http://www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices–services/ces/career-events/career-fair/.