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Career expo draws large crowds to Alumni Gym

A Thursday afternoon event hosted by the Student Professional Development Center provided opportunities for students to network with corporate recruiters in search of talented employees.

More than 1,000 student visited the Fall 2013 Job and Internship Expo in Alumni Gym on Sept. 26 in a program organized by the Student Professional Development Center.

By Sarah Mulnick ‘17

A record number of students attended the Fall 2013 Job and Internship Expo on Thursday as dozens of employers representing corporate, nonprofit and government agencies met with future Elon University graduates looking for a head start to their professional careers.

The Sept. 26 afternoon event in Alumni Gym featured more than 70 organizations – including Google, Lenovo, Credit Suisse, Boeing, the Peace Corps, Lincoln Financial Group and the Vanguard Group - in search of qualified and motivated applicants.

“This helps in terms of building a professional network,” Elon senior Danielle Kingberg said inside the expo. “Gainful employment is the goal.”

By the end of the day, more than 1,000 students had practiced their networking, interviewing and job preparation skills by introducing themselves to recruiters. The turnout more than tripled attendance figures from last year’s fall expo.

Several Elon alumni returned to their alma mater as recruiters for their current employers. Yvonne Faulk '09 and Brooks Wray G'09 represented Lincoln Financial Group.

Representatives of the university's Student Professional Development Center also took portraits for attendees to use with their LinkedIn professional social media profiles.

The expo was an opportunity for employers to begin a dialogue with students, said Tom Brinkley, executive director of corporate and employer relations. That dialogue helps when Elon students graduate and begin looking for jobs. It also demonstrated for students that jobs do, in fact, await them once they receive their diplomas.

Networking goes both ways. Recruiters keep returning to Elon because they appreciate the program behind the students, said Lenovo representative Erika Edwards.

“I fell in love with Elon,” she said. “It is the only business-oriented school that [Lenovo] makes a point to visit each year because the quality of candidates that we get from Elon is phenomenal.”

More than 70 organizations were represented at the job expo in Alumni Gym, including Google, Boeing, The Charlotte Observer and Teach for America.

Fellow Lenovo representative Brooks Hester said he agrees, adding that the students at Elon are both articulate and prepared. “I am blown away by students here,” Hester said. “They are smart, they know how to talk to [the representatives]. They do not expect us to give them answers and information, but to ask us questions and give us resumes.”

The Lenovo recruiters said they attribute that to the business and career preparation that Elon provides its students, as well as the focus on internships and study abroad, both of which are appealing to future employers.

“Elon is one of the few schools that does that sort of program, and it shows,” Hester said.

Christian Funkhouser ‘10 currently works for Google and offered identical observations. “Elon students have a propensity to work hard,” said Funkhouser, who represented his employer at the afternoon event. “They are willing to learn by doing.”

The Job and Internship Expo is held once in the fall and once in the spring each academic year. Other opportunities for Elon students include a Graduate and Professional School Fair in October.

Taking part in such programs gives students an advantage that many schools elsewhere don’t necessarily offer, and graduate surveys demonstrate why.

“Nine out of ten Elon graduates who report that they have full time employment after graduation say that it is related to the career that they wish to pursue,” said Tom Vecchione, executive director of Career Services at Elon University.

For more information on career preparation resources at Elon, visit the Student Professional Development Center on the first floor of Moseley Center. The office is open during normal university business hours with satellite offices in the School of Communications, the Koury Business Center and the Station at Mill Point.

Eric Townsend,
9/27/2013 8:35 AM