Local university partners promote career fair

By Alla Drokina, Staff Writer

Over 105 employers have signed up to meet at the 21st annual Partnership and Employment Career Fair to provide students with an opportunity for success in a career field.

The Partnership and Employment Career Fair is a partnership among EWU, Whitworth, Gonzaga and WSU Spokane held at the Spokane Convention Center Feb. 25 from 2-6 p.m. No prior registration is required.

“It’s pretty unique to have four universities combine resources, and the benefit for Eastern students is that it attracts major employers,” said Shannon Turner, career adviser at EWU.

Employers who will be present encompass a broad variety of career fields including engineering, criminal justice and education. Among those present will be KHQ, the CIA, Numerica Credit Union and STCU.

According to Turner, certain employers are willing to conduct on-the-spot interviews with students they deem qualified.

“They’re there with the potential to make a job offer,” said Turner.

Although not every student gets interviewed right away, building a connection is a step to attaining an interview.

“We have EWU students that get jobs and internships out of this every year,” said Turner. “We’ll see people that receive interviews two or three weeks out of the event, but they have made initial contact with that interviewer [at the event].”

When Bryanna Sparks arrived at the Partnership and Employment Career Fair last year as a senior and communications major, she was still unsure of where she would work after graduation.

After meeting employers at an Enterprise Rental Car company table, Sparks received an interview with the company and was able to a secure a position with the Seattle-based location before graduation.

While several of her friends were preparing to keep searching for work after graduation, Sparks had peace of mind knowing she had that portion of her life figured out.

Now, Sparks is in training for a management position at Enterprise and is able to work her way up.

“Every job fair is what you make it,” said Sparks. “Make sure you’re prepared.”

Sparks listed professionalism, readiness and enthusiasm as key characteristics that employers look for in students.

Turner suggested that students arrive in professional clothing with polished résumés in hand. She also recommended bringing a folder to tuck in business cards and other paperwork.

“I would think of this as your first interview,” said Turner. “Why not make an impression?”

For students who need assistance with their resumes, Career Services is offering Résumé Blitz, an on-the-spot review, on Feb. 18 from 2-4 p.m. on the second floor in Tawanka Hall.

EWU internship coordinator Romeal Watson offers assistance to students who need career advice or resume tweaking. Appointments can be set up with Career Services online through EagleNET or by phone.

Watson emphasized that the fair is not only for seniors and juniors, but can also be beneficial for freshmen and sophomores.

“With freshmen and sophomores, [attending is] extremely important because it gives them a chance to get an insider’s perspective about the industries that they’re interested in,” said Watson. “If you want to be a professional, the best way to do it is to talk to professionals and pick the brains of professionals.”

Watson encouraged students to ask questions and have an idea of what they want.

“Internships and getting a job, those are nice milestones into your academic experience, but what I would also say to students is to make sure whatever you do choose, you’re sort of thinking through what the end goal will be,” said Watson. “Who do you want to work with? What industries do you want to go into? What are things you actually like?”

According to Watson, students can think both practically and creatively when choosing a career.

“It’s OK to pursue industries you have a passion for that already entertain you,” said Watson. “If you like opera or fashion or exotic animals, those could be integrated into the work you could do.”

However, Watson does not dismiss practicality completely. He said sometimes students do have to accept seemingly arbitrary internships that could enhance their skills to get to their goal. He said most employers are looking for a legacy to pass down to motivated students.

“That’s sort of the quest for students: to either continue the legacies that have already been started or if they have a new take on [something] to introduce it to the world and see it through,” said Watson.