In Case You Missed It: A Recap of UF’s Career Showcase 2015

On Tuesday morning, company booths pressed alongside each other in the O’Connell Center prepared for the flood of students waiting outside in a line that curled around the sidewalk of Gale Lemerand Drive. Within 30 minutes of opening the doors, more than 1,300 students swamped the building. Tuesday marked the first day of UF’s Career Showcase, a job fair hosted by the Career Resource Center. Every year the center prepares almost a year ahead of time for this highly anticipated event. Months of planning, marketing and logistics are put forth for this two-day showcase, which allows students to interact with more than 378 employers from all over country. 

This year, about 7,000 students were predicted to attend the semi-annual event, and the stakes were high as 90 new employers arrived at the fair looking to specifically hire Gators. The showcase was split up into two days by category — non-technical (for all Gators in fields like accounting, healthcare, communications, education, sales and retail) and technical (for Gators in fields like computer science, engineering, information systems and research). 

A few notable first-time participants include companies like Facebook, Trip Advisor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Kellogg’s.

First-time attendee Isabella Malabet, an industrial and systems engineering student, said, “It’s overwhelming, but it’s also kind of exciting because you get to talk to a lot of people. You get an experience if anything, even if you don’t get an interview.” 

Kaileah Blazek and Celia Kniepmann, who are both chemical engineeringstudents at UF, sport their business casual attire at Career Showcase.

UF allows both students and alumni to attend the fair in hopes of giving everyone a chance to network with potential employers. It turns out that employers are just as eager to talk to the faces that make up the Gator Nation. The academic liaison of the National Security Agency, Steve York, said, “This is shaping our future — I’ve enjoyed having freshman come up and tell me ‘This is my first career fair and I’m overwhelmed.’ So I introduce myself as the biggest and baddest employer in this town and if you can talk to me you can talk to anyone.”

The career fair isn’t just for seniors trying to land jobs after graduation. The showcase offers thousands of opportunities for UF students who are just starting out and are looking for internship or co-op prospects. Before the career fair, the CRC offered one-on-one meetings with students who were interested in having their resumes reviewed or headshots taken. The center also gave them the opportunity to participate in a mock interview session designed to eliminate the first interview jitters. The career showcase has been such a hit that it has compelled both students and employers to come back year after year. 

Returning senior Rebecca Shionis said, “The variety and the size of the event is definitely beneficial.” Attending a previous career showcase allowed her to land an internship with Arizona Chemicals and this year’s showcase has proved even more successful — she has interviews set up with two different companies who attended the event.

Previously, Career Showcase had seen a decline in employers participating in the event due to the economic downfall. However, this year things seem to be looking up as the number of employers participating in the event has increased.

“We are finally at a point where we were from numbers from 2009 where we had 380 companies attend,” said Ja’Net Glover, a senior associate for Career Services.

The event seemed to go off without a hitch. Students who were offered opportunities by companies during Career Showcase are now getting ready for their interviews, which are being held right here in the Swamp for the next two days. 

Didn’t have a chance to attend this year’s showcase? Fear not because another event will be held during the Spring semester. Make sure to check on the Career Resource Center’s website and start getting your resumes ready for what might become the event that will kick-start a career with your dream company.