With graduation looming, Debbie Senior and Daniel Mason are like many other students at Memorial they just want to finish school and land a decent, well-paying job.
But with a competitive North American job market they recognize they’re competing with some of the best post-secondary students when heading to an interview. To succeed, they’ll need to meet industry players and shake as many hands as possible to make the right connection.
That’s where Memorial can help big time.
The two will get to do as much networking as they want next month when Career Development and Experiential Learning rolls out the welcome mat for more than 140 exhibitors for the university’s eighth annual Career and Graduate School Fair.
“This is really a prime event,” said Mr. Mason, a native of St. John’s who is also finishing his Arts degree in addition to being enrolled in the economics co-op program. “These people are here specifically looking for us. So this is sort of your best opportunity to meet so many people together that are looking for recruits.”
This year’s fair is set for Monday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Field House. Employers, organizations, government agencies and not-for-profit groups from across the country will be represented at this year’s event, the biggest it has ever been. Last year more than 100 exhibitors attended.
“What scared me the most, especially when I was working on my BA, is this whole hidden job market about how you have to know people to really get a job,” said Mr. Mason. “The whole networking thing really scared me for a while but going to the Career Fair is a great place to get used to engaging people and introducing yourself saying what you are studying.
“Yes, a lot of people are there for engineering and business students, but still those companies are interested in different disciplines and there are other people there definitely not looking for engineers and business students.”
It’s also a great place to lay the groundwork for future work terms, added Ms. Senior, who is originally from Red Harbour on the province’s Burin Peninsula. She and Mr. Mason are required to complete three work terms as part of their co-op program. Getting as many potential employers under one roof is a goldmine, she said.
“Go and shake some people’s hands and get used to talking to people,” she said, urging other students to take in the event. “Just get used to that process because it’s a very useful skill when you are looking for a job. Get your name out there.”
That enthusiasm for this year’s fair is welcome news for organizers like Chris Hounsell, employment development co-ordinator with Career Development and Experiential Learning (CDEL). He said current students and alumni shouldn’t think twice about attending the fair.
“It is a great chance for graduating students and recent alumni to make key connections with respect to employment but at the same time, it is also for those students who are looking for direction in their studies and career paths,” said Mr. Hounsell, who added that this year’s event will include representatives from more than 30 graduate schools across the country.
“We feel that graduate school is a very important piece of the career development spectrum and we are very excited about the numbers that are attending this year to meet with our students and alumni,” he said.
Admission to this year’s Career and Graduate School Fair is free. Students and alumni are reminded they’ll be required to show their student ID card at the door.
Visit www.mun.ca/cdel/careerfair to learn more about the fair.