Career Fair: Stepping-stone toward the future

As Lakers, we all share a common purpose, to get a job after graduation.

We are fortunate enough to have the Career Development Center (CDC) on campus as a tool to help us reach our goal.

On Thursday, March 21, the CDC will host a Career Fair in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center (MAC). The Career Fair is not just an event that you go to and pick up fliers and/or applications; attending gives you the opportunity to form relationships with prospective employers in, and possibly outside of, the Erie community.

“Almost 80 percent of job or internship opportunities are unadvertised, so connections are extremely important when searching for a job,” Director of the CDC Kyle Foust, Ph.D., said.

Attending the Career Fair is vitally important in order to meet new people and gain communication skills with real-world companies.

The fair is focused on establishing connections that may benefit students in the future. According to Foust, around 20 percent of the recruiters attending the fair at Mercyhurst are alumni. Therefore, everyone is encouraged to attend because this is a major connection that is made even before walking through the doors.

The senior and junior populations have dominated the fair in the past, but Foust and Career Fair Coordinator, Dolores Griswold, both believe that it is also just as important for freshmen and sophomores to attend.

Attending as an underclassmen gives you a look at what will be happening in a short two years. In addition, it gives you opportunities to gain connections when preparing for internships during or after the next academic year.

Griswold said she encourages students to do their research before they arrive. The fair is designed to be a conversational experience, not a formal interview.

“Don’t be intimidated, but be prepared to have a conversation and know your facts as well as the history about the company that you are interested in,” said Griswold. “This could potentially impress companies and show them that you are knowledgeable about what is taking place in their business.”

Although there will be around 90 companies at the fair, students should take the time and talk to whomever they want. Many companies have different departments that use a wide range of degrees.

An example of the companies that will be at the event this year are: LORD Corporation, International Atomic Energy Agency/BNL, Wegman’s, JET 24 – FOX 66 –, Seneca Gaming Corporation, PA Board of Probation/Parole, Saint Vincent Health System, The School District of the City of Erie, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Erie Insurance Group, Marriott, and UPMC Nursing.

Education majors should take special note that is the first year that The School District of Erie is attending this event.

Students are encouraged to dress in business casual attire. Suits for both men and women are recommended. Also remember to bring your student ID, and 20 or more copies of your professional résumé.

The CDC is reaching out to support the student body so that any student can take a copy of their resume to the DocuCenter, and the CDC will pick up the tab for all copies in support of your future.

The Career Fair is being held on Thursday, March 21, 2013, from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. in the MAC. 600 students are expected. Foust suggested to those attending, to devote at least one hour to meeting and conversing with the companies.

“It is becoming increasingly rare that companies will take the time to come to college campuses to recruit possible employees and interns, so take advantage of this opportunity and get to know the companies and what they are all about,” said Foust.

Simply by attending this major event, you have the opportunity to fill out a quick survey following for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Stop by the Career Development Center located on the first floor of Egan Hall, or contact the CDC via email at, (814) 824-2426, or search for them on the Mercyhurst portal or Facebook for a complete listing of companies or for any questions that you may have.

By taking an hour of your day in order to meet someone, you are potentially creating a future for years to come.