Career Expo lends helping hand to job seekers, likely employers

FAMU students filed into the Career Expo Wednesday looking to use the two-day event to build networks for job opportunities.

The annual event, held at the Leon County Civic Center, featured more than 100 businesses looking to hire prospective employees.

Delores Dean, the director of FAMU’s Career Center, has played a major part in orchestrating the annual event. With the help of colleagues Raymond Pandley and Cecil Washington, she has transformed the Career Expo from an annual event in the Grand Ballroom to a Civic Center extravaganza. She said students should utilize the Expo to their benefit.

“I believe it gives students a chance to network for great internships for the summer, fall, full-time, co-op and part-time positions,” Dean said. “We always expect at [least] 12,000 students. We have 110 companies that are looking for all kinds of students. Some of these same employers come back year after year.”

A multitude of business organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Whirlpool, Disney Worldwide, Waffle House, Publix and even Target were there looking to enlist interns.

Trudi Kaham, a recruiter for Target, said the business is indeed an equal opportunity employer.

“Target is committed to diversity,” Kaham said. “We are focused on leadership and not just on the major of a student. We are one of the top retailers in the nation. I believe we have very core values and will remain committed.”

 Kaham admitted that it has been a tough year for retailers, but she said the company would be a great choice for students looking to learn.

Megan Schutte, a recruiter from Whirlpool who has been with the company for more four years, said Whirlpool helps craft leaders.

“At Whirlpool we offer more career growth,” Schutte said. “We have leadership rules. In the years that I have been with the company, I have been in four different positions, each one higher than the next. They keep you moving. They focus on customer service, quality of product and diversity not only on a corporate level but on an individual level as well.”

At Whirlpool, students are invited to join the sales force. Schutte said her organization is seeking people with enthusiasm, self-motivation and a global mindset.

Other companies at the Expo were Abercrombie & Fitch, Naylor, Lowe’s and Kraft Foods. Pat Stottlemyer, the region director of retail at Kraft Foods, encouraged juniors and early seniors to apply at the company.

“We are looking for folks on a sales career path,” said Stottlemyer, who has been working with Kraft for 28 years. “I prefer business students in sales, marketing, finance and operations. What we try to do at FAMU is work with the business school. Ninety percent of our interns come back and want to work with us.”

Dean said this year’s Career Expo was a success, and she is looking forward to next year. She said the career center has come a long way since they joined the Expo in 1991. She wants students to keep coming out year after year.

“Students should come to the Expo prepared with a résumé, professional dress and a great personality,” Dean said. “They should leave with high expectations.”