Career Expo 2014 Connects Kent State Communication Students with Cleveland ProfessionalsPosted Apr. 15, 2014
By Hannah Hamner
Professionals from 23 local businesses and organizations met with Kent State University's College of Communication and Information juniors and seniors Friday, April 4, at CareerExpo2014 at The Silver Grille in downtown Cleveland. CareerExpo is the only communication-focused career fair at Kent State.
The event allowed 65 students from JMC and the Schools of Communication Studies and Visual Communication Design to visit with recruiters of their choosing, get information on internships and entry-level positions, benefit from professional critiques of their resumes and gain insight on the skills and attributes local companies are seeking in communication professionals.
Even before entering the Expo, the students, dressed in their business best, could appreciate the value in attending.
"I am hoping to find an internship for the summer at the career fair," said Meghan Caprez, senior public relations major, on the way to the event. "There's supposed to be a lot of people there just for journalism and mass communications majors and I'm really looking forward to a CareerExpo that's tailored to what I need."
Caprez was not disappointed. Companies in attendance appealed to a wide range of communications students and included Akron Beacon Journal, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, WJW Fox 8 and Marcus Thomas LLC. Companies invited to the event are among the region's top employers
"We always think it's important to attend these kinds of events because we like to build relationships," says Sarah Hihn, human resource manager at Dix & Eaton Communications. "It's important for us to get our name out there and make sure that people are aware of our opportunities at the internship level."
"We really enjoy Kent State students because they are, for some reason, very enthusiastic and eager to learn and bring back what they've learned in internships to the classroom and vice versa," said Brett Runkle, human resources coordinator at InfoCision Management Corporation.
Jillian Kramer, associate editor at Cleveland Magazine, agreed that Kent State students stand out among job applicants.
"I've been impressed with how prepared they've come," said Kramer. "They immediately presented their resumes, have talking points and have questions to ask. I've been impressed with how blunt they are about what their interests and non-interests are. Kent State grads have a certain professionalism. The interns who come from Kent take initiative and don't expect to be handed things. They work really hard.
Although the general consensus among recruiters was that the undergraduates came prepared, there is always room for improvement, and professionals were willing to give advice.
"If you're applying somewhere and going to talk to somebody, do as much research as you can about that organization," says Tim Magaw, reporter at Crain's Cleveland Business. "Even here; there is information about us in the program. No one should be asking who we are when it's right in front of them."
Hihn also gave advice about actions to take before applying for jobs.
"Getting experience on your resume is important," said Hihn. "You have to compete with so many people, so you need to find a way to stand out. You can find it anywhere. It becomes a little more challenging when you move away from the college environment, so you have to be creative about it. I tell people to go to non-profits and volunteer their time and practice what they've learned there. I have also seen people get experience through their church community or their local school district."
Even while waiting in line to speak with recruiters, students' energy remained high, as they shared experiences with each other.
"It's nice to see what types of agencies are out there and actually talk to them in person," said Heather Fesenmyer, senior advertising major. "It's hard to get a feel of what they're like when you just do a Google search. The event was more than I thought it would be. I expected to just come and shake hands and introduce myself, so it was nice to actually talk to professionals for more than a couple minutes."
Megan Confer, a JMC alumna and CareerExpo attendee from last year, learned firsthand what benefits can emerge from attending the networking opportunity.
"I was introduced to the agency where I now work, which led to my current position," said Confer, now a public relations associate at Studiothink. "I would absolutely recommend this to other students. The CareerExpo is a great opportunity for students to learn about different opportunities with the agencies and organizations in the area, network with professionals and hopefully make connections that lead to a job. If nothing else, the mini-interviews are great practice."
John Butte, event coordinator and career service coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was pleased with the outcome of the CareerExpo2014 as well.
"CareerExpo2014 lived up to its expectations of connecting student hopes with real opportunities," says Butte. "Of the 23 companies, virtually all have internship opportunities and several have open positions. For the employers, it was an opportunity to interview our best students at once in a unique forum showcasing the best of our extraordinary program in the College of Communication and Information."
Photos and Video by David Foster