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Get Your Hands on Your Future
Attending the Career Conference at University of Wisconsin-Stout couldn’t have worked out better for Melissa Buchholz: If helped her determine the type of job she wants and led to her first job offer, months before graduating.
Last year Buchholz, from Harris, Minn., went to the conference hoping to land a co-op job. She is a business administration major with a minor in human resources. Close to 900 UW-Stout students were part of the Cooperative Education program.
She visited the Jennie-O Turkey Store booth at the Career Conference but learned the company didn’t have any co-op openings in human resources. She didn’t give up. “I checked back with the contact I gained at the conference and they informed me of an opening,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz spent last summer working at the Jennie-O Turkey Store corporate headquarters in Willmar, Minn. The company is a subsidiary of Hormel Foods. She worked on the company’s recruiting process and conducted training sessions, interviews and a compensation survey.
“The co-op experience helped me determine the specific area of HR that I wish to pursue, which is recruitment,” she said.
Since that experience, Buchholz has been offered a full-time position in her field, although she hasn’t decided whether to accept it.
This year’s conference will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, through Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. About 250 employers — a 15 percent increase over 2011 — and 2,500 students and alumni are expected to attend. More than 900 interviews will be conducted on campus.
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The Career Conference and co-op experience have improved Buchholz’s job prospects immensely, she said. “Employers saw my related work experience and took me more seriously as a candidate, rather than an upcoming graduate with no related experience.”
The Career Conference, put on by UW-Stout’s Career Services office, is more than just three days of student-employer visits and interviews. Before the event students use Career Services to help polish their resumes and cover letters and hone their interview skills.
Buchholz is a member of this year’s Career Conference Executive Board. She plans to attend again.
She has a few tips for others attending the conference:
• Study the list of employers. Determine which ones are of interest and then research the company to help make a good first impression.
• Print plenty of resumes on resume paper.
• Be confident.
• Dress appropriately. Being overdressed is better than looking unprepared.
Employers at the conference will be recruiting students for full-time jobs and co-op positions. Different majors will be targeted each day.
In the co-op program students earn a wage — an average of $12.37 last year — and receive a grade and academic credit.