Students, businesses network at Southeast Career Expo

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Southeast Missouri State University hosted a Career Expo to create a networking opportunity for companies and Southeast students and alumni.

Dozens of employers, recruiters and schools attended the event at the Show Me Center on Thursday. Students handed out their resumes and spoke face-to-face with potential employers.

Dan Presson, Director of Career Services at Southeast Missouri State University, says they are excited to bring the Career Expo back in person after making it virtual the last couple of semesters.

“This is our first face-to-face career expo in over a year,” Presson said. “We’re elated to have this many employers back on campus, directly connecting with our students. It’s a fantastic event. It gives students the opportunity to network and meet with companies. It gives companies their opportunity to find their next great employee. We’ve got a good opportunity for both students and the entire community.”

Around 600-700 students usually attend the career expo with the dozens of employers represented. Those employers are looking for part-time, full-time employees and interns.

“We have a good turnout of students every single time we have one,” Presson said. “Employers usually bring their Southeast alumni back with them to help them recruit additional Southeast alums.”

He says students come ready, dressed to impress with resumes in hand.

“They’re ready to talk to employers,” Presson said. “This is the next generation of the workforce. And it gets really exciting, because working for a university, we graduate entire groupings of people out into the workforce. So this is our community and or region and our nation’s next great employees are right here in the room. We’ve got a lot of cool opportunities. Great opportunity for employers to connect with students. Excellent opportunity for students to connect with employers.”

Karl Trowbridge, a sophomore Cyber Security major at Southeast says he came to the career fair to get a feel for how the market is doing right now.

“Get an idea of what’s out there opportunities-wise for me as a cyber student. I’m looking for internships currently being a sophomore just to really learn what my major has to offer,” Trowbridge said. “Being able to be face to face with people is something that’s huge. With COVID happening recently it changed that a lot. It was kind of discouraging for a little bit, especially not being about to talk, shake hands and just make a true connection. You can only do so much on LinkedIn, right. Being able to get your hand out there in the door, your name with them, it’s really a game changer.”

Presson says since there are more jobs available recently, students have more opportunities to shop around.

“Our students have the ability to go and meet with multiple different employers,” he said. “They have the ability to really select where it is they want to go. It gives the students the ultimate freedom, but then it also gives them the ultimate opportunity to truly learn where they will fit in an employment. So then there’s less job shifting post employment. So, if a student has more selection, they can go on more interviews. They can meet with more employers. They can usually find a place that truly fits with their interests, with their goals and with their cultural values.”

One thing mostly missing from the career expo this year…handshaking.

“Everybody that we talk to really loves meeting people face to face,” Presson said. “Everybody likes to meet face to face. The one thing you’ll notice that has gone away is there is very little handshaking going on. COVID has sort of moved people into more of a personal space type of a situation. But people love to meet face to face. They love to look at a well written resume. So the basic foundations of the job searching process are still really strong.”

Nowadays, you might have a Zoom interview or a couple rounds of Skype interviews and a phone interview before you get the job. However the process, Thursday’s Career Expo created connections for future graduates and employers.





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