Through her years as a faculty member of the University of North Dakota, Ilene Odegard, the Director of Career Services, has seen a great number of students attend the university’s career fair.
Odegard feels encouraging students to attend career fairs is greatly beneficial for both their experience in the field as well as any future job pursuits. She’s concluded the earlier a student attends these events the better off they will be in the long run.
“Every year, we have about 1,000 students walking through the door; mostly juniors and seniors,” Odegard said. “But I have found that the most successful students, by the time they reach graduation, have attended those fairs early, as freshmen and sophomores.”
Odegard fondly remembers a student she once had come through her department, and the initiative he took to getting prepared for graduation. It was this fierce initiative that landed him a job with Vast Enterprises.
“He did all the right things,” Odegard said. ”He came to career services early on, got his resume in shape and sharpened it every semester. He was our poster child.”
Career fairs have been available for students to attend at the university for some time now, and in recent years, Odegard has noticed more and more students are taking advantage of the opportunities they have to offer.
When asked about the importance of a career fair and why students should attend them, Odegard responded with a tone of empathy and experience.
“That personal one-on-one connection you have with an individual,” Odegard said. “It’s building confidence in yourself, because you’re about to be a professional.”
The career fair is held every semester. It offers students the chance to discuss possible job opportunities with a plethora of companies attending the event.
“If a student has an internship under their belt, by the time they graduate, they’ll have an 80 percent chance of finding the job they want,” Odegard said.
Beginning on Feb. 6 and ending the following day, the event and will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom both days. The event will be from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days.
Day one of the fair will primarily focus on students on aviation, business and liberal arts degrees. Day two will focus with students who will or have acquired a degree in computer science, engineering or technology.
Roughly 160 companies are scheduled to attend. Big names like Amazon will be present for both days of the fair.
“Amazon is coming, which is huge,” Odegard said. “They’re looking to hire 200 fresh grads for their education center, which involves interactions between them and the people who sell to Amazon.”
For students with aviation degrees, airline companies such as Southwest Airlines, Delta and Compass will all have booths at the career fair.
The fair is open to anyone on campus as well as other schools located in the state of North Dakota. Odegard believes opportunities like a career fair should be available to anyone looking to find work.
“Smaller colleges don’t have the funds or the labor to have their own career fairs,” Odegard said. “So we invite and encourage those colleges to attend our career fairs.”
Students looking to find more information about the career fair are welcomed by the career services department to stop by. They allow walk-ins on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday.
A mobile app is also available if one searches UND Career Fair Plus on the App Store. The app allows students to find complete company listings, an interactive floorplan, event details, announcements for real-time updates and a fair tips section to help you prepare.
Sheldon Hatlen is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]