Job & Internship fair a great opportunity for Lakeland students

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Leah Ulatowski

Lisa Stephan, Director of Career development, helps set up at Job fair

Leah Ulatowski, Copy Editor

In the midst of an uncertain economy and a country in which an increasing number of citizens are acquiring College degrees, students are hard pressed not only to set their sights on a career path early on, but also to find ways in which to set themselves apart from their growing competition. Lakeland College’s Career Development office firmly believes the answer to such an advantage is networking, and events such as the annual Job & Internship Fair at Marquette University are the perfect place to begin making connections.

Held on Thursday, Feb. 21, the event aimed to connect students and alumni with potential employers and internship opportunities; Lakeland College has taken part in the annual event for eight years now and it always proves to be a rewarding experience.

“The event is always a highlight for our office each year because it is ultimately about connecting students and alumni with employers. The employers in attendance are corporate headquarters/regional offices and generally have a lot to offer for internships and entry level employment,” Jess Lambrecht, assistant director of Career Development, said. “I think the event also helps students to understand that there is tough competition for jobs, so it is even more important that our students remain competitive and continue to polish up their skills.”

There were over 115 employers and a total of 1020 students from the 23 private colleges in attendance, of which 43 students were from Lakeland College.

With such outstanding attendance and even more so due to employer demand for space, the event has outgrown its home at Marquette University, thus necessitating a major change for next year’s fair. According to Lambrecht, the next annual fair will take place at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

Following the fair, the Lakeland College Alumni Office hosted a networking event at Sobelman’s Pub across the street from the Marquette Union. A few alumni were in attendance. Lambrecht hopes to host the event again next year.

Lakeland College provided shuttle and bus transportation for the majority of Lakeland students in attendance while others decided to make the drive on their own to Marquette University. Most find the opportunity more than worth the trip.

“To me, it was more of a networking event than a ‘Job Fair,’” Yang Vang, senior mathematics major, said. While the name can distract from the true networking nature of the fair, Vang enjoyed the opportunity immensely, the only room for improvement being, “A lot of the positions that [were] posted in the manual that was given to us did not exist.”

“One thing I thought was difficult is that it is hard to make yourself memorable in a matter of five minutes,” Becky Mayo, senior accounting major, said.

While the drive was admittedly longer than the fair itself, Mayo thought it was an unmatchable opportunity, “It is a networking system and that is really important. I really liked that it was a way to get your name out there and actually meet big employers. You are just a resume in a stack unless they can put your name to a face.”

Overall, Lakeland students appeared to really take hold of the networking opportunity, which couldn’t be more pleasing to the Career Development office.

“Lakeland students are hungry to learn more about their industry/professional area of interest and want to get their foot in the door and the job fair is a great place to start,” Lambrecht said. “My hope is that after this event the students make sure to follow up with the employers to demonstrate that!”