Logan Aukes — Staff Writer
As the sun sets on another Sioux Center weekday, Dordt students trade in hoodies for suit jackets and sweatpants for dress skirts at the Career Development Office’s annual Job and Internship Fair. The 38 employers represented consist primarily of agriculture, accounting, and engineering companies but the event was open to all students. Some employers, including the FBI and Kansas City Fellows program recruited students from most majors.
While recruiters have always come prepared with promotional tri-folds and welcoming smiles since the fair’s inception in 2013, students have not always returned the favor. With low student turnout in recent years, Amy Westra, Associate Director of Career Development, has worked to rethink the fair’s future.
This year, thanks to more targeted advertising, nearly 200 students—with résumés in hand—attended. Those who spoke with at least two companies were given a leather padfolio and entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card from the Campus Store.
“[Companies] were thrilled with the number of students that came and how prepared they were,” says Westra.
Westra even received a thankful email from one of the recruiters, who said, “Normally, I have to stand in front of the table to pull students in to talk to me, but with your students, they walked up to me and introduced themselves.”
With companies present from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota, and Iowa, students had a geographically diverse lineup of companies to choose from. The positions available were just as diverse, ranging from Graphic Designer, to Product Specialist, to Market Intelligence.
However, some students were disappointed with the lack of opportunities available for their major.
“There were no CPA (Certified Public Accountant) firms,” said Chris Bacaam, a junior Accounting major. “I even spoke with two companies who had just recently filled the position they were at the fair to hire for.”
Given Dordt’s small size, it can be hard to entice large companies to attend the fair. For disappointed students or those who couldn’t make it, Westra points to other ways the Career Development Office can partner with students.
“Handshake, Handshake, Handshake,” said Westra. “Every job we know about is posted there. That’s your one-stop shop.”
Handshake, an online career community all Dordt students have free access to, is also where the Career Development Office facilitates on-campus interviews between students and local companies. However, Handshake is more than a platform of job listings.
Before you ever submit an application, the Career Development Office will review your résumé, cover letter, graduate school materials, and even your LinkedIn page.
And if you think the Career Development Office’s help stops after you apply, you are wrong. For those moving onto interviews, there is networking assistance and mock interviews—all scheduled through Handshake.
Whether it be attending the Job and Internship Fair or taking advantage of other services, the Career Development office encourages all Dordt students to pursue any opportunity for vocational and career development.
“Our office is always here to help,” said Westra.