by Kilat Fitzgerald
The transition from a hard-earned education to stable source of income can be a daunting task for students. For the purpose of networking, ice breaking, and resume’ passing, the Career services department arranged for 55 companies to attend the career fair in the East Hall of the Kryzsko Commons.
“My goal is for students to find internships and full-time positions,” Associate Director Deanna Goddard said. “The hope is that they get to network with employers.”
There were 240 students that turned out to meet the company representatives, with some job searchers utilizing the event to its full potential.
Fastenal, one of the companies visiting Winona State, had representatives from several departments scouting for fresh talent. In the crowded hustle of hungry students with bundles of applications, recruitment could depend heavily on first impressions.
Corey Grebin, a Fastenal IT manager and web development specialist, was enticing two students pursuing degrees in management information systems, or MIS.
“If we can get our name in front of them five, six, seven times before they graduate, it’s going to help with recruiting,” Grebin said. “I know some of the MIS professor require students to come down and interview two or three companies, and that’s awesome for us.”
Other students manage to take their own initiative. Dakota Smith, a junior who currently works in Winona State’s IT department, was clearly interested in what he heard from Grebin about Fastenal.
“I’ll have to keep my eye out for Fastenal Day,” Smith said. He then discussed the specifics of troubleshooting with Fastenal’s web specialist, and how it applies to the job they are hiring for.
The organizations were set up in long rows of tables within a few feet of each other, with retail, insurance, and software companies presented in a fair booth fashion. There was also a photobooth and a Linkedin service where applications could be fine tuned and profiles could be professionalized. Focusing the students’ skills to the right profession was made easier by the listing of job titles next to the respective company.
Another company, Buckle, an American fashion retailer, had a booth that was busy in its efforts to reach out to students with marketing and management skills.
“You get to run the whole business the way you want to,” Buckle representative Lacy Koss said. “It’s a business run source, not a franchise. So we make money off of what we sell. You get a salary, you make commision, it’s nice.”
Goddard said the Warrior Success Center plans to make more sessions like this available for the student body. The Summer Opportunities Fair will be held Feb. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the East Hall of Kryzsko. The Minnesota Education Job fair will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center on April 21.
Last year was the last time a university consortium called the Minnesota Job and Internship Fair was held in the Twin Cities. Due to high cost and low turnout, faculty in charge of the coordinated effort decided not to hold one in the following year.
The construction in Winona State’s gymnasium prevented the space from being utilized for the fall career expo, limiting attendance to 45 organizations in the smaller East Hall. Goddard, however, decided that students should not miss out on the opportunities of other potential employers, and launched Winona State’s first spring career expo.
The next phase was interview day, the schedule of which was posted on Warrior Jobs for the month leading up to the event. Some employers also had schedules for interviews that could be filled at the day of the job fair.
“I would say the majority of students on campus have a company or two that is seeking them out,” Goddard said.
A wide variety of companies voicing their needs was met by a wave of undergrads conveying their abilities.