PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of Bradley University students met with potential future employers on Thursday during the university’s Spring Job and Internship fair.
More than 150 agencies and companies, many of them new to the fair, set up booths inside the university’s Renaissance Coliseum.
They displayed careers in health, education, technology, construction, engineering, business, law enforcement, administration, and more.
Students followed in, professionally dressed with resumes in hand, and got the chance to see what was available, network, and start the conversations to help get their foot in the doors for future careers.
Dr. Rick Smith, the Interim Executive Director of the Smith Career Center, said from day one, students are learning the essential skill sets needed for the careers they were observing at the fair.
“We’re really encouraging our, for instance, our first-year students to engage with the employers and ask them questions about what they should be doing in order to prepare for their future and hopefully to get an internship,” Smith said. “For juniors, we’re trying to help them to get an internship because oftentimes those employers are looking to convert them at the end of the summer to a full-time role upon graduation.”
He said they have different goals for students depending on their grade levels.
Some students said the process of applying for jobs and internships is stressful and difficult based on how much work they’re willing to put in. But many agreed career fairs do help make the process easier.
“I’m more of a people person so I don’t like applying online,” Claire Huebner, a junior at Bradley, said. “I love coming to job fairs and just talking to people and giving them a sense of who I actually am.”
“Just trying to introduce yourself and get people to know your name around here [the job fair] is kind of difficult but that’s why you spend time before you get here and do some research and things like that help you get through it,” Glen Ruff, a junior at Bradley, said.
In addition to recruiting students, many employers and representatives gave out advice to students who not only knew what they wanted to do but also to those who were undecided.
“Keep learning, keep growing, talk to everybody and figure out what it is that interests you,” Betsy Larson, talent manager for River City Construction, said. “A lot of people have a big genre that can come from their degree. So really talking to employers to understand what they can really do with their education and what it means.”
Bradley’s representatives said the university typically has more than a 90% success rate of their students finding work within six months of graduating.