Despite rain, attendance good at Career Showcase day one

Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 7:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 7:27 p.m.

Wayne Wallace, director of the Career Resource Center at the University of Florida, wants UF students to be fully aware of the gem they have in the twice-yearly Career Showcase.

The showcase kicked off Tuesday and continues today at the O’Connell Center.

"The Career Showcase is a very unique opportunity in the lives of people who are seeking jobs," said Wallace. "At UF, we deal with a national marketplace. Students have opportunities all over the country with hundreds of employers showing up to recruit them. An opportunity like this will not happen once you leave the University of Florida."

Students battled the rain and lousy conditions to attend day one of the showcase on Tuesday, which was for students seeking non-technical positions, including communications, accounting, marketing, human services, sales and other similar jobs.

Day two will be held at the O’Dome from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today for students seeking technical positions, including computer science, engineering, construction and other similar jobs.

Wallace worried early Tuesday that the stormy weather could keep attendance down for day one, but he said the day was successful and had typical attendance in comparison to previous spring showcases, even with the rain.

There are many reasons for the good attendance, Wallace said. There is a 7 percent increase in the number of recruiters this week in comparison to last spring, said Angel Iverson, assistant director for career events at the Career Resource Center. Some 140 employers were present for day one and 108 employers are expected to attend day two.

"Recruiters are competing for the most qualified students," said Grace Blankenship, campus liaison for Target and a UF senior. "The competition for students seeking jobs and internships is becoming cut-throat as students become aware of what qualities they need to get jobs."

"Target is hiring all the time," Blankenship said. "Students at the Career Showcase should be confident and let us know what they have to offer. Then we will see what positions work for them."

Blankenship is an example of a UF student who landed her job from the Career Showcase last spring.

"Target’s training program is intensive and the company invests time and money into you. After the internship, Target asked me to be a campus liaison and act as the middle man between UF students and Target. After graduation, I will be an executive team leader in Orlando."

Ernesto Alvarenga, a UF junior looking for a summer internship, said he has been to the Career Showcase two times before.

"It is good to see the economy starting to grow," Alvarenga said. "You can see the growth in how many companies are here recruiting for more than 10 to 15 internship spots. Many people think that the showcase is just for business and engineering students, but there is a wide array of companies hiring for other majors, including psychology, liberal arts and information systems majors."

There was only one hitch the first day of the showcase. Three employers did not show, including the Department of Homeland Security, G&K Services and The Regus Group.

Wallace had a piece of advice for UF students on the job hunt.

"Sometimes students get demoralized when they look in the newspaper and see information about the job market," Wallace said. "Don’t be discouraged. Employers have job offers. Just keep pursuing the positive, and don’t let the negatives defeat you."

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