Career Fair, Networking Event Set USC Aiken Students up for Success

March 24, 2016

Some USC Aiken students changed out of their t-shirts and shorts and into professional business attire for the spring Career Fair, Wednesday, March 23, in the Student Activities Center, giving them the opportunity to market themselves to potential employers, explore graduate schools, and learn more about myriad career fields.

"The Career Fair gives us a great opportunity to network and get to know different people and different companies and how those companies operate," said senior Jasamine Williams, a business administration major.

"It’s a good way to get a foot in the door while you’re still in school."

With resumes in hand, students had the chance to meet with more than 80 employers who are considering hiring USC Aiken students for full or part-time positions and internships. 

"The Career Fair is an ideal format for organizations to begin building personal relationships with students who might become future employees and for graduate schools to meet potential students," said Kathryn McGlynn, coordinator, Experiential Education and Employer Relations, University of South Carolina Aiken. 

She added that methods of employee recruiting, such as social media searches, have developed in recent years; however, she’s learned the Career Fair remains one of the most effective ways for students and organizations to interact.

The university’s Office of Career Services conducts career fairs each year.  This spring’s event represents the highest number of participating organizations in the more than 20-year history of the career fair. 

Participating employers included:  Aiken Regional Medical Centers; Bridgestone; Augusta University Master of Public Administration; Columbia, S.C., Police Department; Family YMCA; Lower Savannah Council of Governments; MTU America, Inc.; Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC; Savannah River Remediation; S.C. Army National Guard; Tri-Development Center of Aiken County, Inc.; and USC College of Social Work.

"There was an excellent turnout, with a lot of prospects," said Christina Noel, human resources assistant at Daybreak Adult Care Services.  "I think we’ll hire students from this job fair."

To help ensure students’ professional success, the USC Aiken Communication Department and the student group of International Association of Business Communicators, invited community leaders, including Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, to meet with students.  In small groups, they discussed with students the importance of organizational communication.  Topics highlighted included:  interpersonal relationships, working with diverse colleagues, media relations, public speaking, working in teams, writing, and creating visually compelling presentations. 

"This will help students understand the importance of communication in their professional and personal lives," said Dr. Charmaine Wilson, chair, USC Aiken Department of Communication.

In addition to Osbon, Class of 1993, other USC Aiken alumni participating in this networking event included:  Israel Butler, Class of 2011, currently the broadcast and video production teacher at T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School and former multi-media journalist for WRDW News 12, Augusta; Tammy Davis, Class of 2004, Community Investment/Project VISION Director, United Way of Aiken County, Inc.; and Anne Fulcher, Class of 2013, director, Graniteville Project. 

"Today, I’ve seen a big connection between school and my career," Williams said.

This year, marks the first time the career fair concluded with a professional networking event. Organizers of both activities say they are exploring other ways to help set USC Aiken students up for success. 

See photos on Flickr