Washington State University’s 2020 Spring Career Expo will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tues., Feb. 4 in Beasley Coliseum, welcoming more than 100 employers to campus.

The job fair introduces job and internship seekers to small and large organizations with positions to fill. In recent years, more than 2000 WSU students and alumni have gone to the annual fall event with resumes in hand. It is hosted by the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC) in the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

“Certainly, this is a major event for students seeking a job or internship, but it’s also a great networking opportunity for those attending for their first time,” said Terese King, ASCC director. “We reached out to our Coug-Honored Partners to learn the benefits of attending the Expo at every stage of a student’s college career.”

All students benefit from Expo

Employers tell WSU that the recruiting process starts with first-year students. They want to see where freshmen are headed and help them become viable candidates later on.

“Attending the expo as a freshman is a great opportunity to explore what is out there,” said Marcus Ramirez, regional recruitment manager, west region for City Year, a non-profit allied with AmeriCorps. “When I meet with students, I always try to learn about what they’re interested in and more about who they are, and I think first-year students come in with a fresh and open perspective as they are figuring things out.”

Get to know employers

“Establish a relationship with us, and we can help you find a career at Expeditors International,” said Kaitlyn Richardson, a lead in unified communications for the international logistics and freight-forwarding Seattle-based company. “We often talk with students as freshmen and sophomores, help them to get an internship at Expeditors, and then when they graduate have a full time opportunity waiting for them.” It’s also a lot less stressful talking to an employer about opportunities or practicing your elevator pitch, when you’re not pursuing a job with them. Repeating opportunities to engage helps build connections.

Explore companies with an open mind

“Talk to as many recruiters as possible,” said Erick Garcia, with Ethos Group, a business consulting firm. You may find what you’re looking for in an unexpected company.”

Recruiters suggest students be themselves, and keep their options open.

“These events can be nerve-racking to students and even to some of the employers,” said David Postforoosh, a talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, a transportation services company. “Be ready to engage in different ways, and be yourself! Go in with confidence, believing in your resume and what you have to offer.”

Sign up on Handshake pre-Expo

Students can learn more about these and other visiting employers through Handshake, WSU’s student job platform. Many employers participate in resume reviews, information sessions, or networking events leading up to the Expo to help get students prepared. It also provides additional chances to build professional connections.

“I would suggest students look up on Handshake the names of employers attending the Expo to find ones that most personally interest them,” said Jason Tabor, a campus talent acquisition manager with Cintas, a corporate apparel company. This can lead to genuine conversations with thoughtful questions about the company or opportunities, he added.

Use ASCC resources—and a shuttle

Preparing to attend Expo can be daunting, but—in addition to hosting Handshake online—the ASCC career team has plenty of resources available for students:

  • Career coaches are in the CUB outside of the food court from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday leading up to the Expo.
  • Drop-in hours for resume reviews are from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the ASCC suite in Lighty 160-180
  • The Cougar Closet professional clothing bank housed in ASCC offers gently-used or new, business professional clothing for free to students.
  • And, new this year is a shuttle that will run from the CUB to Beasley every 15 minutes from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm to allow students in business attire time get to and from the Expo.

For more information on the event, Handshake, career preparation, and other student-success resources, visit the career expo