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Job seekers, employers make connections at career expo

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 06:45 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Working toward a degree in business management with a minor in marketing, Ashley Roberts went over to Marshall University's Spring Career Expo on Tuesday looking for something in advertising.

She ended up with something slightly different but equally exciting -- an interview scheduled with Pepsi's Huntington office for its summer management internship. It would be an opportunity to work face-to-face with different companies, providing solid work experience relative to her field.

Not to mention, "They typically hire through internships," the junior from Canton, Ohio, said.

She was one of hundreds of students and community members who flowed through the Don Morris Room at the Marshall's Memorial Student Center, visiting with some of the 70 employers there to make connections.

Recruiters were looking for interns as well as full- and part-time workers in sales, management, financial planning, health care, law enforcement and many other fields.

Hayflich & Steinberg CPAs was there "to find new talent and workers. We're looking to expand," said Alex Peach, a representative of the Huntington-Charleston firm and a Marshall graduate who was hired after a 2011 career expo at Marshall.

"It's good to keep ongoing relationships with Marshall, and it's actually been very busy," he said.

For Michael Gore, executive director of Lincoln Nursing and Rehabilitation, the expo would have been even more successful had there been more registered nurses looking for jobs.

"We're always looking to expand our services, and to do that, a lot of things require RN coverage 24-7," he said.

But he did get to talk with students looking for internships in business management, just as he was at one time, he said.

"It's a good opportunity to talk to some kids and remember where we were at their age," he said. "I can't believe I'm old enough to say, 'kids.' "

As usual, this year's graduates need to be aggressive, said Denise Hogsett, director of Career Services at Marshall.

Also having a well-developed resume and some relevant work experience helps, she said. Fortunately, a lot of companies seem to be recruiting interns this year, she said.

"We think for Marshall students, that's good," she said. "It gives students the opportunity to build their resume, and the companies the opportunity to see if it's a good fit."

A lot of companies are just trying to make connections. They know a sizable proportion of their work force is on the brink of retirement, and they want to meet potential replacements, Hogsett said.

She advised students and other job-seekers to keep an open mind when scanning the room. Some businesses and organizations offer jobs in a variety of fields, she said. For example, department stores such as Walmart or Kroger aren't necessarily looking for cashiers. They might need managers and pharmacists, she said.

Tina Smith and Glenna Wooten of Huntington were among the job-seekers who don't attend Marshall but were grateful to be able to touch base with a lot of potential employers all in one place.

Smith was laid off the day before the expo and said after talking to so many businesses, she was optimistic, especially with her work experience and training.

"I made some real good contacts," she said. "Marshall is awesome for stuff like this. I know some of this is going to pan out for me."

Wooten said she's been looking for a job since her temp job ended a couple weeks ago.

"I've been out searching since then. This was very beneficial," she said. "I spoke to one (recruiter) for a half hour and turned in an application."

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