One-stop career shop

CSB/SJU Career EXPO provides students with a unique career exploration opportunity

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November 29, 2010

By Megan Barrett

Alumnae/i speak as part of a panel at the Expo

Students who attend the annual CSB/SJU Career EXPO can listen to, engage and connect with graduates in an array of career fields, a sort of one-stop career shop not available at many other colleges and universities.

"The CSB/SJU Career EXPO is unique because of the combination of seminars, a career fair and a networking reception," said Heidi Harlander, director of career services at CSB and SJU. "Many campuses host a workshop or a fair, but not a large mix of these events at one time. The EXPO is open and welcoming to students in all classes, all majors and with all career interests."

Whether they learned how to utilize social media in internship and job searches or practiced networking skills, CSB and SJU students of all class levels and interests benefitted from attending the 2010 Career EXPO.

"I knew that I wanted to pursue a double major in English and Hispanic studies, but wasn't sure what career field I wanted to go into after graduation" said Jamie Korin, CSB sophomore. "I came to the EXPO to start thinking about what I want to do in the future. Overall, I learned more about who I am and where my interests lie, which is an important first step."

Having already formulated the career path he wants to take, SJU junior management major Gavin Miller had a different quest at the Career EXPO.

"I attended the EXPO to look for more ways to stand out in the workplace," Gavin said. Ultimately, I know I want to work in operations or management, so I came to the EXPO to start generating creative ideas for the future."

The hundreds of CSB and SJU students who visited the Career EXPO had the chance to attend seminars ranging in topic from "Global Opportunities" to "Careers in Sports and Fitness," walk through the career fair to learn about opportunities at a variety of organizations and network with CSB and SJU alumnae/i  to practice self-presentation skills.

"It is never too early to start networking," 1984 CSB alumna Judy Zimmer said of the importance of the event for students of all class levels. "The power of connections is a tremendous asset in the corporate world. If you haven't built connections before looking for internship and job opportunities, sending in your resume to a company is like throwing it out the window in most cases."

For students who aren't quite sure what they are interested in yet, 1996 SJU alumnus Jamey Wojciechowski advised getting involved on campus and in the community early on during college.

"It's important for students to prove that they can balance a lot of activities," Jamey said. "Working on interpersonal skills and learning how to think, work and communicate on a team to solve conflict is more important than having a 4.0 grade point average with no experience to back it up."

Although differentiating yourself proved to be a common topic of discussion of the day, alumnae/i also warned students of the consequences of standing out in a negative way through social media.

"Employers notice when you aren't presenting yourself in a consistent way in person and on your social media profiles," said 1985 SJU alumnus Mark Richards. "I would recommend every student setting up a LinkedIn profile to use as a tool to connect with employers and alumni on a professional level."

1998 CSB alumna Jeannie Kenavan suggested that one of the most important ways for students to set themselves apart is to create a personal brand.

"Use your own words, don't talk about something the way everyone else talks about it," Jeannie said. "Build a logo. Build a personal brand that leaves more of a story to be told."

First-year and senior students alike took advantage of the opportunities at the CSB/SJU Career EXPO, whether the goal was to explore areas of interest or capitalize on internship and job opportunities.

"Students can choose to be passive listeners at the seminars or active engagers at the fair and networking reception," Heidi said. "Colleges and universities across the country are constantly amazed at our ability to bring alums back to work with students."