Conference prepares students for professional careers

By Austin Metz | 1/23/13 6:42pm

As students prepare to make the transition from college student to real world professional, there are going to be many tricks of the trade they need to figure out.

How do you properly use LinkedIn? What makes a good resume? How do I get prepared for my interview? For students looking for the answers to these questions and more, the first ever Student to Professional Conference is for you.

“Students of all grades need to be thinking about what is their major, what can I do to prepare for life after school, which can sometimes be daunting,” said Susan Proctor, assistant director of GVSU’s Career Center. “The conference is really there to provide a number of different topics related to what you do after school, after college.”

The conference will be held in the Grand River Room in the Kirkhof Center on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is free for students.

Students will have the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers, visit different workshops focusing on career advice, eat free breakfast and lunch, and participate in group sessions.

“We have four different sessions throughout the day which would have different subjects that people can talk with, so we will have three or four concurrent workshops during those sessions,” Proctor said. “Students have the option to chose the topics which they would like to see or hear about, and can come for the entire day or come and drop in for one session of particular interest.”

Erin Rutgers, alumni relations assistant at GVSU, was in charge of the logistical side of the conference and helped make sure the proper space was reserved, the food was ordered and all the equipment was properly set up.

“I hope that (the students) walk away feeling confident going out into the professional world and I don’t mean that just after graduation because we are certainly encouraging underclassmen, freshman and sophomores,” Rutgers said. “Maybe they are looking for an internship and I want them to feel more confident in their resume, and in their interviewing, and in their networking.”

Guest speakers for the conference will include employers and recruiters from local businesses such as Herman Miller, Steelcase, Dominos, and Saint Mary’s Health Care.

For students preparing to work in the professional world, two important topics that will be covered are how to properly use social media and how to prepare for an interview.

“We actually have two social media platforms and then our afternoon keynote is really about branding yourself, whether that is online or in person,” Proctor said. “It is very much geared toward LinkedIn, which is something we encourage as a professional social tool to help get jobs that may not be posted.”

Rutgers said that interviewing can be intimidating, so being properly prepared can make all the difference.

“Just getting practice and hearing from other people like HR representatives and hearing what they like to hear and the weird things they have heard from people,” Rutgers said. “Don’t do this or you should do this. We like to share that.”

Conference organizers are asking that students pre-register for the event so organizers can properly plan food and events. To register, visit

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