Next Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Engineering Society of Detroit will seek to connect University Engineering students with exactly what they want — a job.
The society, originally founded by Michigan Engineering graduate students in 1895, will host the first annual Engineering and Technology Entry-Level Job Fair & Workshop at the Southfield Town Center Atrium in Southfield.
More than 50 companies from a wide array of industries will be participating in the fair, including car companies such as DaimlerChrysler Corporation, energy providers such as DTE Energy and chemical companies such as Robert Bosch Corporation.
David Meynell, president of Durr Industries, a supplier of major automotive corporations, said this fair will provide students with the chance to network with the ESD’s corporate members. Meynell also serves as ESD’s board liaison for the job fair.
The fair is directed toward all types of Engineering students and the companies represented at the fair will be recruiting for positions ranging from full-time entry-level jobs to internships and summer help jobs.
Cynthia Redwine, director of the University’s Engineering Career Resource Center, said fairs like these are important because they allow a student to “get a feel for what’s happening in the industry and what types of positions are available (and find out) what the opportunities or trends are in that area.”
“One of the things we do is we encourage students to get experience before they leave campus and graduate. That’s why these fairs are so important,” she said, adding that any opportunity students have to converse with potential employers is important.
While both advisors and potential employers encourage students to attend multiple job fairs, some students said they find job fairs frustrating.
Engineering junior Chris Damitz said he has had no luck attending job fairs. “In order to talk to all the companies that you want to, you end up having to wait in three or four hours worth of lines,” he said. “Once you get there you can only talk to the (company representatives) for five to 10 minutes.”
Redwine acknowledged the short amount of time students are given to sell themselves to employers, yet nonetheless stressed the importance of preparation, urging students to come ready to hand them a resume and find out what attributes they are looking for.
She went on to say it is important students research the companies they will speak with before coming to the fair.
“(Students should) find as much information as they can about the employer. The last thing you want to do is walk up to an employer and say ‘what do you guys do.’ Have some knowledge about what industry the company is in, what their business is like. And then from there, (find out how) that company uses engineers,” she said.
Redwine said employers attend these fairs in search of students who have demonstrated their abilities to excel in academics and leadership.
Employers are looking for experience, she said, as well as how a student is doing in classes, how good their grades are and what classes they have already taken. Experience and demonstration of teamwork on class projects are equally important, she said.
Some companies echoed Redwine’s advice. Diane Ballor, human resources manager for Albert Kahn Associates — a large local architecture firm — said company representatives look for students who have demonstrated excellence above and beyond their schoolwork.
“In addition to a strong educational background, we like to see hands-on experience in their chosen field. We look for well-rounded individuals, those who have not only excelled in the classroom, but in internships and volunteer activities. We like to see goal-oriented individuals who have a plan for their careers,” she said.
In addition to opportunities to speak with company representatives, Tuesday’s fair will also feature workshops coaching students on skills such as negotiating salaries and benefits, resume and cover letter writing and career mapping.