Issue 338: 4 / 19 / 2010

Career Services Holds First Annual Professional Job Fair for Southwest Graduates

Southwest graduates came dressed for ...

Southwest graduates came dressed for success as they discussed career opportunities at the First Annual Professional Job Fair.

With local unemployment over 10 percent and economic conditions uncertain, this is a difficult time to be graduating and entering the workforce. In order to give Southwest graduates an advantage, Career Services recently held the First Annual Professional Job Fair for Southwest Graduates.

Unlike career fairs held each semester that are open to all students, the First Annual Professional Job Fair targeted recent graduates only. In order to attend, recent graduates were required to wear appropriate interview attire and bring several copies of their resumes. “Our goal was to provide a professional event that would allow our graduates to make meaningful connections with employers,” said Brenda Williams, director for Career Services.

The event allowed employers, many of whom serve on Southwest Foundation and Academic Advisory boards, to be among the first to network with graduates from various degree programs. Representatives from the following companies were in attendance: Aerotek; American Income Life/National Income Life; FedEx Express; Memphis Light, Gas & Water; Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC; The Peabody Hotel; Regional Medical Center; ServiceMaster; Shapiro & Kirsch, LLP; Smith & Nephew; Smucker’s; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; SunTrust Bank; and The U.S. Department of Justice. “We were especially pleased with the employer representation,” said Elizabeth Schillace, job fair coordinator.

Andre Cleveland, administrative recruiter for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital gave an overview of the positions they’re hoping to fill. “Today we are recruiting for administrative positions, IT (Information Technology) positions, and allied health positions.” This being Southwest‘s first professional career fair, Cleveland was asked to rate the applicants. “I think we had a good pool of applicants, especially for our administrative jobs … I think this job fair has been beneficial especially for those kinds of jobs."

Recruiting for Smucker’s was maintenance supervisor David McAnally, a Southwest alumnus with an associate degree in engineering technology, who personally benefited from the quality programs offered at the college. McAnally was recruiting for technical students and said that Southwest students will be a good fit for Smucker’s because “the actual industrial software that they use at Smuckers is the same type of industrial software that they train with here at Southwest. The hardware and software are the same, so the students will be familiar with it.”

Though Smucker’s will close its Memphis branch, new hires will have the option of relocating. McAnally explained, “The reason why Smucker’s is closing their Memphis Plant is because it is 40 years old. They are going to build a more modern, automated plant in Orville, OH.” McAnally stressed that Smucker’s has an immediate need for technical students and will not completely relocate for three years.

“After the Job Fair, it was an added bonus to learn that a Paralegal Studies major had received (and accepted) a job offer as a result of attending the event,” said Williams. “With positive outcomes like that, Career Services looks forward to hosting next year’s event.”

View more photos of Southwest’s First Annual Professional Job Fair.