The clothing du jour? Suits, crisp shirts, nicely cut jackets and day dresses, and of course – backpacks. Welcome to the Spring 2012 Career Fair, organized by the Walton College of Business and open to students across campus.
In today’s economy, with college graduates having to hustle a bit harder to avoid bunking at home with their parents, post-graduation, it makes sense that more than 600 students updated their resumes, polished their dress shoes and showed up for the Spring 2012 Career Fair. What is surprising is the record number of potential employers – 98 companies and organizations – who sent a representative to the fair.
Companies are always on the lookout for talent, according to Sarah Head, a recruiter for Walmart, which handled some of the longest lines of hopeful students.
“I would say I’ve interviewed, hmm, probably at least 50,” Head said as she thumbed through a thick stack of resumes. “We always look at GPA, extracurricular activities, work experience and other internships, student organization and project involvement. Study abroad we like – any kind of international experience, and different languages.” When asked whether being an honors student helped, she affirmed: “It does, because we know there’s a strong GPA involved with that, and usually extracurricular activities, special classes, and study abroad, as well.”
Remington Rice, a junior Honors College fellow majoring in finance, who wants to go into investment banking, was there looking for a summer internship.
“An internship is very essential for students who want to market themselves to the business world after graduation,” he said. “And this is a way to get my foot in the door with companies like Tyson, Walmart, and Northwestern Mutual. For them to know your name, that’s an advantage,” he added.
Katherine Branscum, a senior international business major with a concentration in supply chain management, was intent on landing her first job. “I’ve literally been here all day,” she said, reeling off a long list of companies with whom she’d visited. “It’s tough, because I’m locationally challenged. My fiance’s in medical school in Little Rock, so I can’t be mobile.”
Alice McMillan, a senior marketing major/Spanish minor, hopes to land a job that will send her abroad, but emphasized that most companies tend to offer those opportunities to more senior employees.
“I’m here because of the stress of not having a job secured – you have to explore all of your options, see what’s out there,” she said. “The ‘you never know’ mentality is what brought me here today.”
The Walton College of Business holds these career fairs once each semester, and students say they do get results.
“I came to the career fair last fall, and they actually do call afterwards,” said Jennifer Roberts, an honors economics major who hopes to land a summer internship. “With summer coming up fast, I plan to make some follow up calls this time,” she added.
Hats off to Walton College for creating an opportunity for students to network, right here on campus.