Career fair to bring in over 200 companies

By Emily Doran | 10/5/16 10:55pm


GVL / Luke Holmes - Sutdents walk around searching for the next booth to visit. The career fair was held in the Devos Place Thursday, Feb. 26, 2016.

For college students and recent graduates, navigating the job market beyond the university setting can be a tricky endeavor. That’s why Grand Valley State University will be hosting a career fair to give GVSU students and alumni the opportunity to connect with hiring employers from different organizations Tuesday, Oct. 11.

The career fair, which is expected to attract between 1,800 and 2,000 students and alumni, will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.

Rachel Becklin, a career adviser and internship specialist at the GVSU Career Center, thinks a significant benefit to attending the fair will be the face-to-face interactions students will be able to have with prospective employees.

“There’s really not a lot of opportunities for students to get in front of employers who are looking to hire them,” Becklin said, noting that a significant portion of the job-hunting process typically happens online. “The big thing I think is making those connections.”

Susan Proctor, an employer development manager at the GVSU Career Center, also thinks the opportunity to connect in person with prospective employers offers a significant advantage to students seeking employment because, ultimately, “people hire people.”

“I think this is (a unique place) where you can talk face-to-face with the people actually doing the hiring and people that want to hire Grand Valley students and alums,” she said. “Even if there are only five or 10 companies that are looking to hire for your particular major, I think it’s still a great opportunity to go and get that face-to-face interaction with these individuals.”

Proctor said students should come to the career fair prepared, although that preparation might look different depending on what the individual student hopes to gain from attending. Minimally, students seriously looking for a job or internship should dress professionally and bring several copies of their resume, she said.

Becklin said business-casual attire should be appropriate for first and second-year students more interested in simply exploring the fair and learning which organizations draw employees from GVSU.

The Career Center provides opportunities for students to prepare for the fair beforehand. For example, there is increased availability for students to drop in and meet briefly with a representative to ask questions or review a resume as part of the “Time for 10” program. In addition, students can attend the “How to Talk to Employers” event Thursday, Oct. 6 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center or L. William Seidman Center to learn tips about how to interact professionally with prospective employers.

Students can also see what companies will be present at the fair via the LakerJobs database and filter the results based on the types of available job positions. Proctor advises students to strategize and make a plan for visiting the organizations that interest them the most, given that there will be 244 different companies represented at the fair and it will be difficult to visit all or even most of them.

For students who still feel unprepared the day of the fair, there will be a new “ask me” table outside the fair where students can pose last-minute questions or get tips from representatives of the Career Center, Disability Support Resources, Veterans Network, International Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Proctor thinks students will benefit from attending the career fair in multiple ways, ranging from simply getting experience interacting with potential employers to walking away with an interview.

“If you have one positive experience that you’re taking away from the career fair, I think that’s good and that experience could look different for every single person,” she said.

For more information about the career fair, visit

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