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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Students search for opportunities at job fair

Hannah Soukup
Students walk around the Convocation Center looking for prospective employers. NIU Career Services hosted its biyearly All-Majors Internship and Job Fair 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Convocation Center. (Hannah Soukup | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Students looking for internships and/or jobs suited up in their best attire and had the opportunity to attend NIU’s All-Majors Internship and Job Fair Wednesday.

Companies like Aldi, Heartland Bank and Trust, State Farm and Target were tabling along with nonprofit organizations like Discovery Center Museum and Easterseals Wisconsin.  

The fair, hosted by NIU’s Career Services, took place in the Convocation Center from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students were encouraged to research the employers attending using the Huskies Get Hired platform.

There were 123 registered employers and 150 students in attendance at the start. Students continued to trickle in and out of the event throughout the day. 

“Students can check out those employers, figure out what the employer is looking for and then be able to tell the employer how they match with what they’re looking for,” said Brian Pillsbury, director of Career Services. 

Pillsbury spoke on the benefits of the fair and ways students prepared for it. 

“I think they’re very helpful, both for the process of getting an internship and a job, as well as for practicing networking,” Pillsbury said. “We encourage students to come with an elevator pitch which is a professional introduction, and to be able to use it comfortability comes with practice.” 

Senior economics major Skylar Weiland approached some companies and took advantage of the LinkedIn headshots available for free. 

“I’ve talked to a couple companies,” Weiland said. “The LinkedIn line was long, so I took a little break, talked to some companies and got my LinkedIn picture.” 

This specific fair happens once every fall and spring semester. Pillsbury estimated between 500 and 1,000 students attend the events every semester. 

“They’ll (students) start coming approximately 45 minutes before the fair actually starts so that they can make a name tag and kind of get settled in with the employer guide and figure out their path they want to take,” said Diane Hart, career fair and event specialist. 

Students made a name tag with their name and major along with any minors or certificates planned. 

Many students dressed professionally, some in white collared shirts and black dress pants for the event to approach the stands of employers. Some were equipped with resumes to hand out. 

“Be prepared, bring a lot of resume sheets because you’re probably going to be giving out a lot of them,” said Nick Flowers, a junior manufacturing engineering technologies major. 

Flowers spoke to Berg Engineering Consultants, Ltd. and gave them his resume. He was told to apply after he graduates. Employers started packing up after 4:10 p.m. 

Donna Desmond, one of the professional development managers at TMC Transportation, spoke about some of the qualities her company was looking for in potential employees, specifically regarding a need for passion regardless of a student’s major. 

“Well, right now we’re really looking for logistic sales people, but we’re looking for people that have a passion,” Desmond said. “That’s what we’re looking for; just some excitement, some passion. We don’t necessarily care about your major, we care about your passion.”

Students reported the event being a good source of opportunities, even if it does not directly find them a job immediately. 

“I appreciate it (the fair) because it gives students like me an opportunity to be able to get introduced to companies, put your name out there kind of, and maybe get an internship,” Flowers said. “They (the companies) can then offer you a job.” 

Career Services will host an Education Job Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Monday at the Convocation Center. They will also host a Government, Nonprofit and Social Services Job Fair 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 5 in the Holme Student Center’s Regency Room. 

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