Career Development provides assistance in paving way for professional future.
On Nov. 2, the annual Fall Career and Internship Fair was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Of the wide variety of employers that attended the fair, a few included the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, Southern Teachers Agency, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Norfolk Admirals.
Every year, Virginia Wesleyan University’s Career Development Program provides students with a number of opportunities to further their academic and professional careers. This semester alone, events like the Major & Minor Exploration Fair, Career Cafe and Resume Rush workshop have brought students one step closer to reaching their career goals. The Fall Career and Internship Fair was the most recent of such events.
Director of Career Development Alice Jones played a major role in the organization of the event.
“As Director of Career Development, I am responsible for all aspects of the Career Fair: coordinating dates, times and locations, recruiting employers, marketing to students and alumni and coordinating and managing the day-of-fair logistics,” Jones said.
Thanks to all of Jones’ hard work, the fair had a considerable turnout. With a goal of 100 students and a variety of employers in mind, the outcome surpassed expectations. This year’s Fall Career and Internship Fair had 30 employers registered to attend and over 120 students, faculty and staff who participated in the event, assuring Jones that the fair’s purpose was met.
“The purpose of the Career Fair is to connect students, alumni and faculty with employers and their opportunities,” Jones said. “It is an experience that gives students and employers a chance to meet one another, establish professional relationships and discuss potential job and/or internship opportunities. It is also an opportunity for students exploring majors and careers to gather information useful in making good decisions.”
Alumna Hannah Turner attended the fair as an inside sales representative from the Chesapeake branch of Career Enterprise, a company that specializes in the distribution of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Turner was excited to come back to VWU to meet current students and talk with them about their future, whether that involved Career Enterprise or not. She looked forward to sharing some advice with students at the fair.
“Go visit every table, be personable and really try to find out what the employers at each table do,” Turner said. “See how what they do relates to you, if it’s something that would benefit you, then cool, if not, that’s cool, too. Not every table is going to benefit everybody in here, but at least you’re getting yourself out there.”
Along with Turner, Stephen Mayhew, director of Residential Sales at Career Enterprise and a first-time attendee of the fair, was also eager to have conversations with students.
“We’re in the HVAC industry, and, like a lot of technical trades, it’s an industry that needs an influx of young talent, people that are interested, that are hungry to learn and want to grow,” Mayhew said. “There’s a ton of opportunity, not just with our company, but in the market as a whole, for young people to come in and build a career from the ground up, start learning the skills now that are going to propel them forward. The ladder is as high as you want to make it.”
Dorothy Yanku-Palmer, a junior and Elementary Special Education major at VWU, has attended the fair in the past and was aware of the opportunities it provides.
“I went to the Career Fair at VWU last semester and walked away with a summer job,” Yanku-Palmer said. This past summer, Yanku-Palmer worked at the Splash Kamp Children’s Activity Center at the Holiday Inn and Suites on North Beach.
To prepare for the event, Yanku-Palmer looked over the list of employers registered to attend the event and developed a few questions to ask at each table.
Before the fair took place, VWU’s Career Development Program encouraged students to attend the Resume Rush workshop in preparation for the event. However, the workshop turned out to be a flop.
“I had one student attend,” Jones said. “The purpose of the event was to help students prepare for the fair by getting one-on-one attention and feedback on their resumes from employers.”
Despite the low turnout at the Resume Rush workshop, students were still persuaded to make a good impression on potential employers by utilizing VWU’s Professional Clothes Closet, recently rebranded as The Marlin Boutique.
“The closet provides a place for currently enrolled students to obtain new and gently used interview attire or clothing to get them started off at internships or jobs in professional settings, free of charge,” Jones said.
As hoped, The Marlin Boutique has proved a big hit with students.
“I think that those who have taken advantage of the resource have found it of value and found professional pieces to add to their wardrobe,” Jones said.
The closet is always accepting donations, particularly smaller men’s sizes.
If you are interested in utilizing The Marlin Boutique or looking for more career and internship opportunities to advance your academic and professional careers, contact the Career Development Program at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students are always welcome to stop by the boutique any time between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
By Carey Seay