High turnout expected at Career Fair

by Peter Kaspari/Staff Writer

Simpson College students are expected to file into the Hopper Gym today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the college’s annual career and volunteer fair.

Every year, companies and volunteer organizations from around the Des Moines area come to Simpson to seek out potential new employees, interns and volunteers.

“We do one in the spring,” Ann Greubel, Career Services assistant and internship coordinator, said. “We do other events throughout the year, but the career fair itself is in the spring.”

This year 37 different organizations have signed up to attend the career/volunteer fair. They include: Pioneer Hybrid, Wells-Fargo, the Iowa Events Center, HyVee, the Iowa Barnstormers, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“Typically, in a little better economy, we have 60-70 companies,” Greubel said. “Due to the economy, a lot of employers are not hiring, they have hiring freezes, or they have let people go. This year we have 37, which is actually a pretty good number.”

Other than the amount of representatives being lower, there are some additional changes to this year’s fair.

“In the past, we have combined graduate school information with it, but we did a separate graduate school fair in the fall,” Jill Rossiter, interim director of Career Services, said.

Rossiter said that Simpson is lucky to have the career fair, especially in the wake of the economic crisis.

“Incidentally, we have heard that because of the slow job market, some companies aren’t going to career fairs this year, and some schools have actually cancelled them,” Rossiter said. “We consider it a real honor that so many companies are coming to our career fair. It speaks highly of Simpson graduates and what employers think of them.”

Rossiter said there is a process that students should follow if they are looking for a job or volunteer opportunity.

“Students need to dress professionally and come prepared to introduce themselves, give their 30-second spiel about who they are, what they’re majoring in, what year they are at Simpson, and what they’re looking for,” Rossiter said. “They should also come prepared with some questions for companies.”

Career Services provides a list of the companies that will be in attendance to provide students an opportunity to research them and come with questions they want to have answered.

“Students need to understand that they really are paying attention to how students approach them, and what questions they have,” Rossiter said. “They remember the good things and they remember the bad things. Students should treat it like an interview, because it may very well determine whether they get invited for an interview or not.”

Rossiter also recommended speaking with different companies.”With the economy as it is, I strongly encourage students to talk to as many of these companies as possible and network as much as possible,” Rossiter said. “That face-to-face contact with the recruiting people could make a real difference in the job search. Come prepared, look good, and have some good questions to ask them as well.”

Career Services recommends students of all years attend the career fair, not just seniors.

“A lot of our employers offer internships, which are great for different years,” Greubel said. “We also encourage students to just come and explore what companies do, what they look for when they hire, and what majors they hire. It also gives students an opportunity to polish their people skills by going around talking to employees.”

Senior Greg Thompson attended the career fair during his junior year and plans to attend this year as well.

“I thought it was a great way to get connections to the different human resources of companies,” Thompson said.

Thompson added that he hopes to find “some kind of IT position that will keep me in Des Moines.”

Around 200 students usually attend the career fair, according to Greubel.”The more students that come through, the better the employers like it,” Greubel said. “We like to have a good turnout.”