The Fall 2019 Career EXPO made its debut at its new location in the First United Bank Center this Thursday, bringing a new range of employers to the larger venue in addition to new features that are able to be accommodated in the facility.
The Career EXPO is an all-majors career fair held by WTAMU’s Office of Career Services every fall and spring semester to provide students with the opportunity to meet and explore various career and internship options offered by different employers. This is the EXPO’s first year taking place in the First United Bank Center, a move that Director of Career Services Amber Black explains was to accommodate more employers. Black states that the increase in floor space has allowed the EXPO to host 102 employers, which is substantial growth from previous years maximum of 90 employers. Among those employers, she adds, are prominent names in various industries such as Bank of America, Dell Technologies, Merck and Co., and Cargill.
“Since we’re in the Panhandle, there will be a lot of agricultural opportunities,” says Black, “but there will be others, too… There are a lot of employers that are not specific about any particular major, [such as] Phillips 66 and Enterprise Rent-a-Car.”
Black stressed the importance of attending the fall EXPO for students who are looking to find their summer internship. She explains that most employers begin hiring for their summer internships by October, while many students do not even think about summer internships until March or April.
“We don’t want students to miss out on the opportunity to have a great summer internship experience. We want this to be a worthwhile event,” Black adds. “Our role is to connect, equip, and empower students and employers.”
The newly revamped EXPO was preceded by 10 days of events including pop-ups in almost every academic building on campus, resume workshops, and a new event known as Networking Night. According to Black, Networking Night is designed to help students make the most of the EXPO.
“We want students to be better prepared for the EXPO and not have it be, ‘OK, I have my resume, I came to the EXPO, what do I do now?’” explains Black. “It’s a great place to network with a bunch of employers really quickly… even if its not their employer of choice.”
A select group of employers sponsored the event and, along with a panel of alumni, hosted a dinner and program to teach the attending students how to network, proper attire for interviewing, how to talk to employers, as well as sharing their own experiences in past Career EXPOs.
In addition to the events leading up to the EXPO, a new feature this year was the VIP Lounge. The VIP Lounge took advantage of the increase in size of the venue by providing a space for students to step away from the busy floor and go upstairs to an area separate from the main event. Students could then receive light refreshments as well as take a mental break from the EXPO without having to physically leave the facility.
Katherine Walker, junior Equine Industry and Business major, stated that she appreciated having the VIP lounge as a place to escape to. “[The EXPO] is a lot of mental and social concentration, and for individuals who are introverts who don’t spend a lot of time networking or in large social events it can be very draining.”
Arguably one of the most fun parts of the EXPO that came in tandem with the new venue was the limo service that Career Services provided from campus to the First United Bank Center. Black explained that the service was not only to make it easier for students to get to the EXPO, but also to serve as publicity and an attention-grabber for students who chose not to attend. The limo service picked students up from both the JBK and the Dining Hall, and operated in conjunction with the regularly scheduled shuttle services.
For information on next semester’s Career EXPO, contact WTAMU Career Services at (806)651-2345, or check out Handshake.