From backpacks to briefcases

Students network at CSB/SJU Career EXPO

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November 23, 2011

By Ben Besasie ‘12

Numbers tell the story. More than 800 students attended the 2011 CSB/SJU Career EXPO. Approximately 165 representatives from businesses and organizations volunteered for the campus event. The numbers add up to opportunities for students to drop the backpack and pick up the briefcase. 

The EXPO attracts such numbers because of its unique combination of 18 career seminars, a career fair and a networking reception for students, said Heidi Harlander, director of Career Services and an organizer for the event. 

"At the EXPO, students can garner advice on how to maximize their time in college as they work toward a career area through engagement in clubs and organizations, study abroad, internships, jobs and service," Harlander said. 

EXPO serves many needs for students, from first year through senior year, she said. "Students can explore major and career options, practice presenting themselves in a professional manner, connect with professionals in a wide range of career areas, and learn how to stand out in the job/internship search process," she said. 

The Career Fair is very popular among students, alumnae and alumni. More than 55 organizations were represented at the Career Fair. Some students went for the networking experience, resumes in hand, while others targeted a select few companies. 

Bridget Reilly, CSB '12, narrowed her selection in the labyrinth of opportunities and met with representatives from Fairview and the Minnesota Department of Health. Reilly is a biology and Spanish major on track to become a physician's assistant. She attended the fair to learn about other organizations and career paths. She succeeded and landed a meeting over lunch with the director of Fairview and plans to meet with the president. 

"Meeting with the director helped me more than making connections; he gave me great advice and guidance," Reilly said. "I am glad that I was able to attend the Career Fair so that I could meet someone who now knows my story but is also a mentor to me." 

Building connections is an important attribute of the Career Fair. CSB and SJU have an alumnae/alumni network that ensures the success of this event. Matt Twohy, SJU '13, continued to build his network with representatives from Target, First Investors and Northwestern Mutual. 

"It was nice that most of the employers were all alumni," Twohy said. "It made connecting easy, and they were able to give good advice because they know our situation." 

The Career Fair is designed to answer all the questions students have and some they have never thought to ask. Students are on their way to join the real world and navigate the workplace. This event was only the first step to put down the backpack and pick up that briefcase. What will yours hold?

The 2011 CSB/SJU Career EXPO was sponsored by CSB/SJU Career Services, CSB Alumnae Relations, SJU Alumni Office and Management Department.