On Tuesday afternoon around 57 employers set up tables in the K-State Student Union Ballroom as part of the spring Business and Hospitality Career Fair. Students bearing name tags and wearing business suits wandered around the Ballroom looking to meet employers who fit their career goals.
Employers ranging from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo. to Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, to Starwood Hotels and Resorts were all there looking for students in the college of business.
Lon Kunes, district manager for The Sherwin-Williams Company, said companies want students to introduce themselves.
“Don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself because you don’t know if a company will be a good fit until you explore it,” Kunes said.
Kunes also said students can stand out to employers by showing they researched the company first, and he said students looking for a financial services company should not introduce themselves to a paint company looking for salespeople and management candidates.
Lauren Horst, senior in hotel and restaurant management, just decided Monday to attend the career fair, so she said she did not prepare as much as she should have.
“I feel like the most nerve-wracking part is walking up and introducing yourself,” Horst said. “Once you’re in a conversation it’s not that bad.”
Horst said she already had an internship for the summer, but she has to do interviews for her major and she wanted to meet more employers.
Joy Whitney, assistant director for Career and Employment Services and liaison for the College of Business, said planning for the fair started last fall.
“I think career fairs have a tendency to be underutilized by students,” Whitney said. “It’s a great opportunity and employers do remember people they talk to. It’s good networking, and even if students aren’t looking for an internship, they should go to get as much exposure as possible.”
She even suggested that students go to all the career fairs and not just the ones that are industry specific. The reason being, employers like Frito-Lay also attend more than one career fair, so a representative might recognize the student and the student will be more familiar with what the company is like.
Since many companies attend multiple fairs, preparation for the representatives can be a routine activity.
“We let the school know we’re coming, they have a profile of what we’re looking for and we have to gather the materials together,” Kunes said. “We’ve been doing this awhile.”
They meet many students over the course of any career fair, and students should come prepared if they want to stand out.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car set up a room with snacks where students could prepare, and recruiters from Enterprise could help them relax and tell them what to expect.
Calvin Basye, senior in hotel and restaurant management, was one of the students taking advantage of the drinks and cookies available in the waiting room. He said he has been to many career fairs.
“Through the years I’ve been to the career fairs. I haven’t taken those very seriously, but I’m actually looking for a job now and those helped me get a feel for it,” he said.
Career and Employment Services handed out informational packets detailing the type of students each business was looking for. Certain companies are listed as looking for majors in areas such as agriculture, engineering, psychology, history and even open option.
Kunes said even though the company he represents is looking mainly for management and marketing majors, if they find the right people they will still hire them.
“There’s no limit, if we find 10 quality people we’ll hire 10, if we find none we’ll hire none,” Kunes said. “We don’t have a quota.”
The students need to be willing to be the right fit for a company.