Multicultural career fair featured today

By Jen Bland

Students will be able to network themselves and their skills at the Fifth Annual Multicultural Career Fair.

The fair takes place from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. today in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

The fair is sponsored by Educational Services and Programs (ESP), ACCESS/Student Support Services (SSS) and Career Planning and Placement with some additional help provided by the Organization for Black Business Students (OBBS) and the Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS).

This year’s multicultural career fair offers students the opportunity to look for full-time jobs, internships, summer jobs, obtain career information, network and receive a free gift in the process.

There will be 33 employers at the fair, including Allstate Insurance Co., DeKalb Schools District 428, Motorola and Northern Illinois Gas.

Employers are especially interested in students majoring in accountancy, allied health, communications, computer science, counseling, economics, education, engineering, finance, human and family resources, management, marketing math, OMIS, political science, psychology and sociology.

Tendaji Ganges, director of ESP, described the fair as open access. This means it is open to all students and booths will be set up representing the employers so students can visit whichever ones they choose.

Students are required to sign up at the door and be dressed in interview attire with resumes in hand.

Frankie Benson, assistant director of admissions, said students should first review the list of employers to decide which ones they want to target and make copies of their resume accordingly.

Ganges said he encourages students to “have a few spares.” He said his theory is having a few extra copies of your resume can’t hurt.

Students should be prepared to interview on the spot if necessary. Benson said some private areas have been provided for interviews rather than interviewing in front of a group of students.

Benson said the fair “gives the opportunity to qualified students to seek employers.” She said it was initially aimed at minority students, but it has been broadened.

“The fair was initially part of Student Support Services, but we realized it would be more advantageous if we invited the whole community,” Ganges said. “It started small, but we thought it would benefit more students if we opened it up.”

Ganges and Benson agreed the fair has become more successful over time. “It gets better each year as we learn more about it,” Ganges said.

They said they attribute this success to word of mouth. Benson said as students talk to other students about the fair, attendance is better and as employers talk to other employers about it, more want to participate.

“This year’s theme is ‘Broadening Our Horizons in the World of Work’ and no matter what opportunities a student is looking for, this experience will broaden their horizons because they will gain networking experience,” Benson said.

Ganges said the fair is advantageous not only for finding an internship or a full-time job, but for finding a way in the door. He likened it to sitting in the first row of the classroom rather than in the back row.

He said this is an opportunity for students to make themselves known to potential employers. If a student can get a co-op or summer job it may lead to an internship or full-time job later on.

“This is a good opportunity to get exposure to employers seeking Northern students to fill full-time or summer positions and internships,” Roselyn Curry, coordinator of Job Location and Development, said. “It’s also a resume builder because students can gain experience that will help them get a job after graduation.”