Career fair a success

Desiree Mahr

The Bryant Conference Center bustled with activity Wednesday during the spring General Interest and Business Career Fair. At the fair, students searching for internships and jobs had the chance to speak with various employers and companies.

Jerry Paschal, executive director of the UA Career Center, said the career fair had a positive turnout in student attendance.

“Probably the highest percentage of students here would be seniors because they are about to graduate. There are always juniors and sophomores here who are looking for internships though,” Paschal said.

In addition, Paschal said almost every company at the fair had open positions and was hiring students for either internships or full- and part- time jobs.

“We’re down just a little bit by the number of employers,” he said. “If the room were a little fuller though, we wouldn’t know where to put everyone.”

Paschal said that although a high percentage of the companies were looking to hire business students, some companies were still open to hiring students from different academic backgrounds.

“There are many companies that may indicate that they are looking for a business student but a good, smart student can convince them that they are needed at that company,” he said.

It is important for students to begin attending career fairs early, Paschal said. Having the ability to choose courses wisely and to do research about companies and the available jobs are among some of the advantages from attending a career fair.

“The students will have a greater understanding of obstacles they will face and advantages they will have when the time comes for them to actually start applying for jobs,” Paschal said.

Ellen Watson, a graduate student in finance, came to the career fair to continue her search for a full-time job. For Watson, the career fair set her up with an opportunity to meet with employers who are important to her current job search.

“I applied to BB&T and Regions last night and today, I actually got to meet the girl in charge of the BB&T interviews. It was good that she was able to see my face,” Watson said. “I think that could be really beneficial for me.”

Watson said the variety of companies at the career fair made it a perfect opportunity for any student who is looking for a job or internship.

“There are companies like Aaron’s Auto Parts. Nieman Marcus was in there, which is good for fashion majors. Aerotek was there, and they just deal with recruiting,” she said. “There are jobs in everything – retail, banking, government. A student can go pretty much anywhere they want to in there.”

Drew Franklin, a senior majoring in public relations, said he talked to several different companies to try to find a job.

“I’m looking for a full time job, but if I could get a hand on an internship that would lead to a full time job, that would be great,” Franklin said. “It’s still hard to find a job in this economy even though it’s picking up.”

Franklin said the career fair pushed him forward in his job search.

“There are some opportunities for me out there. I just need to get on the ball with things and follow through with the contacts I made today,” he said. “I now have more confidence than before.”