Hamline News

February 21, 2012

Hamline Students Meet Employers & Hone Networking Skills at Annual Minnesota Private Colleges Job Fair

job fair full

Allison Tjenstrom, a senior who is double majoring in marketing and Spanish, is excited to network with professionals, interview for open positions, and hopefully find her first post-college job. She was one of more than 150 Hamline students to attend the Minnesota Private Colleges job fair, an annual event designed to help students connect with employers and build networking skills on several levels.

“This event presents the opportunity to interact with many companies and organizations,” Tjenstrom said. “It really gives you the chance to go out there and market yourself and find out more about what’s even out there.”

The fair, a collaborative event offered by the career development centers at 17 of Minnesota’s private colleges and the Minnesota Private College Council, is in its 35th year, and it continues to grow. This year, more than 150 employers were present, including locally headquartered corporations such as Target and Best Buy, as well as dozens of non-profit and advocacy organizations.

“Our hope is that there’s something for everyone,” Terry Middendorf, director of Hamline’s Career Development Center, said. “Our students have a wide variety of vocational interests, and we always have a diverse group of employers.”

Given today’s economy and the intense competition for jobs in most sectors, proactive career searching is becoming increasingly important, particularly for soon-to-be college grads. The Minnesota Private Colleges job fair is designed not only to help students find careers, but also to facilitate practice on critical networking skills.

“It is imperative that graduates enter the work force with these skills under their belt. This is a great opportunity to hone those skills in a live setting,” Middendorf said.

The diversity of businesses and organizations present at this year’s fair serves as an encouraging sign for those seeking jobs in a troubled economy, with attendance among employers returning to pre-recession levels.

Casey Willmarth, a senior communications major, is eager to take advantage of the opportunity to see dozens of different career pathways all at once.

"Even if I don’t find the perfect job, I still want to get my name out there,” Willmarth said.

This aspect of networking is critical, as many opportunities arise as the result of connections made at the fair. For instance, Middendorf said he was once contacted by an employer to find a recent grad who had delivered a resume at the fair three months earlier.

“This event is a moment in time, but a lot can happen after it,” Middendorf said. “You just never know.”

Find out about services offered to students at the Hamline University Career Development Center