Internship and Career Fair brings employers to Wilkes

Amanda Bialek, Life. Arts & Entertainment Asst. Editor

The Internship and Career Fair is an opportunity for students and soon-to-be alumni to network with local companies. If you are seeking an internship or full-time employment, there are a variety of businesses looking for individuals who are eager to learn and demonstrate good work ethic.

This year’s fair was held at a larger venue for a longer time frame, which allowed more students — and businesses — to be accommodated.

“In order to make it most efficient for students to meet the most employers, I thought why don’t we bring them here,” Sharon Castano, internship and mentoring coordinator said.

Castano started the Internship Fair in 2006. She handles the internships for all majors except for pharmacy, nursing and education, who have their own coordinators.

She reaches out to company recruiters and decides where the internship fair is held. Castano also organizes the structure of the fair, so it creates a learning environment that is beneficial for both employers and students.

This year, there were a total of 52 businesses involved.

“Every company will be looking for different things, but the one thing that they are looking for is the student that can be a sponge,” Castano said.

Companies are not necessarily looking for individuals who have a lot of internship experience. Castano believes companies are interested in students who are ready to learn and are excited about what the company does.

As for students who are seeking careers or jobs, businesses are seeking individuals who have hands-on experience from an internship. Castano said some companies have a dual-duty at the fair because they are looking for both potential interns and employees.

“I tell students first of all when they go to the tables, to go in the reverse order of the way they like the companies,” Castano said. “Don’t start with the first one on your list.”

It is important to speak with companies you are most interested in after practicing your introduction with the others.

“I actually say if you have six (companies) that you like, start at number eight and get your jitters out,” Castano said.

By following this advice, Castano believes students will be better rehearsed and prepared when they speak with their top choices.

Some students may feel that they do not have enough related experience to land an internship.

“Don’t sell yourself short. You being able to be involved in clubs and organizations, manage your time as a college student, maybe have a part-time job or play a sport, that’s a lot,” Castano said.

Time management experience is a key quality employers look for.

“Students feel like they have to have this excellent job experience. Really, it’s just time management experience,” Castano said.

Career Services are responsible for recruiting employers as well as preparing students for the day of the fair. They check resumes, help students understand how to approach employers, suggest what types of questions to ask and encourage them to research companies ahead of time.

“There are mounds of research that indicate that students who have a clearer career focus persist longer in college, feel better about being in college and enjoy the experience more and are usually more likely to achieve their career goals,” Carol Bosack, director of career services said.

Career Services helps students match majors with their values, interests and skills. It also assists with identifying careers within a person’s field of study. Some of the services offered include Life-Career Planning courses, individual coaching and mock interviews.

Lisa Mulvey, career services coordinator, said students should have their resume checked by career services and the faculty within their major to ensure their various skills are best represented.

“Be more aware of what we offer as a school,” Jennifer Baron, English and secondary education major said.

The Career Services and the Cooperative Education & Internship Office is available to guide students as well as assist them with resume and interview preparation. The office hosts the Internship and Career Fair on campus so people can meet directly with employers and gain experience having conversations on a professional level.

“This saves you so much footwork having to go out and find employers that are hiring interns and hiring full-time employees. They’re here looking specifically for Wilkes students,” Mulvey said. “You’re beating out a lot of the competition from King’s, Misericordia, University of Scranton because you’re right here on our campus, so you don’t have to go very far.”

Baron said attending the fair is “important because it gives you that related experience that employers are going to look for when you graduate.”

Students can make connections with companies at the fair that may lead to their first internship or job.

“Our faculty are very supportive of my program,” Castano said. “They truly believe that internships help students get the necessary experience to help them get jobs upon graduation.”

For more information on internships or resume advice, contact Sharon Castano at [email protected], Carol Bosack at [email protected] or Lisa Mulvey at [email protected]