Career Fair 2014
By Elizabeth Greiwe, SOC website reporter
Swarms of smartly dressed communication students descended on Corboy’s Kasbeer Hall Tuesday Feb. 4 for the School of Communication Career Fair.
Armed with perfected elevator pitches and typo-free resumes, Loyola students had the opportunity to meet with 50 potential employers from all sects of the communication industry.
“I’m really thrilled to see the turn out, and everyone is so interactive,” said Heather Ritter, a Human Resources Manager for the Daily Herald Media Group. Ritter was also part of a panel for last week’s Career Week “Ace That Interview” workshop.
The longtime Daily Herald employee said that she has been impressed with the career counselors and mentors at Loyola over the years, too.
“They’re very receptive and genuine,” Ritter said.
That kind of relationship is something the School of Communication faculty and staff as well as the Career Center staff have worked hard to develop, Martin Gahbauer explained. Gahbauer is the assistant director of employer relations and recruiting coordinator for the Career Center. He was the one pulling the strings behind Tuesday’s Career Fair.
“Through the years, we’ve been able to develop relationships and partnerships with various employers,” said Gahbauer during a phone interview.
Over the course of six months, Gahbauer along with SOC and Career Center staff reached out to employers to craft a list of relevant and recruiting companies for the fair.
All those months of effort paid off for students.
Senior English and journalism double major Jordan Berger said she was at the fair to make some useful contacts before she graduates in the spring.
“It’s been great to see all of the different opportunities for Loyola students,” said Berger about the various employers.
Before she hit the fair, Berger touched up her resume and did some background research on the employers she was interested in.
“I think if you just apply online, your resume gets lost in the chaos of things,” Berger said. “But if you meet face-to-face, they get to see your personality which doesn’t always translate from a resume.”
The chance for students to showcase their personalities makes a big difference. One student was surprised when her quirky remark nearly got her a job.
“He apparently liked that I was a little sassy,” senior journalism major Gillian McGhee said after a representative from a marketing firm asked her if she was interested in a position at his company. While McGhee decided to pursue other interests, she said she was amazed at how her offhand comment could get such a response.
The low pressure setting of the fair helped create an atmosphere where students and recruiters could connect without the oppressive weight of an interview. Communication majors wandered through the maze of tables, chatting with alumni, recruiters and faculty.
At the Evive Health table, Operations Manager Nathan Fournier and Production Coordinator Holly Gaspari had a thick stack of resumes piled on top of their Macbook. Fournier said they were glad to have the chance to meet with students right off the bat.
“It’s important to know right away if someone will fit in at the office,” said Fournier. “If I see their face light up when we’re talking about social media, I know they’re a fit.”
Gaspari, who graduated from Loyola a few years ago, said it was a great opportunity for students to learn more about what organizations have to offer them. The Loyola alum was surprised at how many fellow classmates she saw recruiting at the fair.
“I recognize some people here,” she said while pointing vaguely across the hall at a few other tables. “There is an entire row of people I went to Loyola with.”
Gahbauer admitted that having alumni at the fair was one of its strongest assets.
“The Loyola alumni have a strong affiliation with school and having them be at the table helps because students will feel they’re more approachable in that way,” said Gahbauer. “That makes it a lot more comfortable for the student.”
As for Gaspari, she said it was strange to be back on the other side. After attending enough career fairs during her time at Loyola, however, Gaspari said that letting students see her success could help calm their fears about graduation.
“I’m only OK with coming back because I have an awesome job,” Gaspari said.