Job expo brings opportunities for students

Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room will host 63 companies looking to hire Youngstown State University students and graduates on Wednesday.

The Spring 2012 Job Expo will feature national companies like FedEx and Wal-Mart, as well as local and regional companies like Humility of Mary Health Partners and Drake Manufacturing Services.

“It’s a job looking for a job,” said Marijean Benedik, co-coordinator of the job expo and director of career and counseling services at YSU.

“What we try to do is pull together as many employers as we can and give the students an opportunity to do that face-to-face interaction,” Benedik said.

The job expo, Benedik said, attracted between 400 and 600 students during the fall semester.

“There may be 30 different employers that you give your resume to,” Benedik said. “Or there may be one or two, but that’s one or two employers that you were able to do face-to-face contact with, make that first impression and then give them your resume.”

Benedik said she recommends that students dress professionally and be prepared to talk to people.

Students who have received jobs as a result of the expo sometimes call, Benedik said.

“They’ll contact us or, you know, a specific coordinator or myself and say, ‘Hey, I got the job. I got an interview,’” Benedik said.

Susan George, the expo’s co-coordinator and an administrative assistant for career and counseling services, said the expo provides more than just job opportunities.

“Even if students don’t get a job out of it, it’s a great networking opportunity,” George said.

George added that if a student isn’t quite ready to graduate, then the expo allows him to “connect with [employers]” and contact those businesses in the future.

The expo’s size depends entirely on the participating companies’ needs.

“Before the economy crashed, we were up to 95 [companies], with a waiting list of 10,” Benedik said. “And now we’re slowly building up, but it’s based entirely on the needs of the employers.”

While YSU is not the only university to hold job expos, Benedik said “the time and the effort” put into the event is what sets YSU apart from others.

“We work very hard to get good, solid employers here for our students that have real opportunities for them,” Benedik said. “I want them to have available openings so our students can get those jobs.”