More than 1,000 Middle Tennessee State University students and alumni fine-tuned their resumes, elevator pitches and dressed to impress as they descended upon the university’s Campus Recreation Center this week where dozens of prospective employers awaited to recruit them during the 2023 Fall Career Fair.
The university’s largest and only campuswide career fair of the year held Thursday, Sept. 28, attracted almost 180 employers and organizations — ranging from Coca-Cola to Nissan and from the Nashville Zoo to local law enforcement agencies, health care and financial services companies and everything in between — seeking to fill a variety of internships and full-time positions.
MTSU’s Career Development Center’s again hosted the event, which also included student access to free business attire from its Career Closet as well as plenty of employer giveaways.
Center Director Beka Crocket was pleased with the “remarkable turnout” considering the raining weather throughout the day, saying that “great connections were made and tons of faculty out and made new connections with employers.”
Crocket said the center hosted a fair prep event Sept. 20 that was well attended, and students also took advantage of the center’s document drop email service where they can submit their resumes, cover letters and personal statements.
“They’ll be critiqued and hopefully to be polished for an opportunity,” she said.
Dressed in a light grey suit, white shirt and black tie, Tony Covington, a senior management and leadership major with the concentration in human resources, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was 90-minutes into his visit to the event.
“I graduate in May, so I’m looking for full-time roles and I came out to get a little bit of experience and see what companies have to offer. And just trying to see where I want to end up after college,” he said. “I can see myself at some of their companies, so I’m definitely going to reach out. I’ve had a great experience so far.”
Covington said the Jones College of Business offers numerous courses that help students prepare for such career fairs and job interviews with prospective employers, and MTSU hosting such events can help students connect with companies that they may not otherwise interact with.
“We have this whole thing regarding working the Career Fair and how we can better work it,” Covington said of one of his business courses. “So that’s been a great preparation for me … and help in building my resume and things like that so that way (students) can tailor them toward the specific companies that we are looking for.”
With a stack of updated resumes in hand donning a business casual pant and blouse combination, fellow senior and May prospective graduate Jocelyn Reid, a finance major from Lansing, Michigan, said she came to the fair “to make some connections and potentially get a job out of college or an internship.”
“Honestly, I’ve been looking at a wide variety (of companies), but the more financial companies are kind of where I’m leaning toward. But there are finance positions at a huge variety of companies, so it’s very broad,” she said.
The fair, which she found out about through the online job board Handshake available through the Career Development Center’s website, was “extremely beneficial because it not only helps you make connections, it also helps you figure out what companies are looking for, and what s the company’s culture, and that’s something you can’t necessarily get online.”
Like Covington, she appreciates MTSU’s emphasis on preparing students for their careers, bringing working professionals as guest speakers and lecturers to give students a better understanding of the skill sets needed in the current and future workforce.
Representatives from Clark Construction were on hand recruiting for summer internships and full-time positions and were pleased with their visit as the three-hour event wound down.
Matthew Henderson, a Clark project manager, said the quality of programs within MTSU’s School of Concrete and Construction Management was a natural draw for Washington, D.C.-based Clark as the national contractor pursues a variety of projects in the “excellent market” that is the growing Middle Tennessee region.
“You can clearly tell there are a portion of students that are excited about what we do in our field,” Henderson said. “MTSU does such a good job supporting Murfreesboro and the surrounding Nashville community educationally that it’s an asset for us to be here.”
Even though another Fall Career Fair is in the books, Crocket said the Career Development Center staff stands ready to assist students with their job search efforts with its suite of support services.
“The Career Center is really working to get the word out to students that we’re that bridge to opportunity when they graduate and to help them develop their experience portfolio while they’re still a student,” Crocket said. “So we want to see them early and often so we can help them in all facets of their experience.”
The Career Development Center is located in Room 328 of Keathley University Center. Learn more by visiting https://www.mtsu.edu/career/ or by calling 615-898-2500.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)