Career Premier Fair gives students key networking opportunity

In a time when jobs are few and far between and competition is fierce, Liberty University is doing its best to give students real-world experience, according to Clint Melton, Assistant Director at the Career Center.

Liberty’s Career Center took students to Salem, Va. on March 28 to participate in this year’s Career Premier Fair. Students took their place among the approximately 250 people who attended, including 10 other schools.

Liberty has been heavily involved in the fair for the last five years.

Melton encouraged students to take advantage of fairs, stressing the importance of the experience gained.

During the trip, Liberty students interacted with potential future employers and acquired interview experience.

According to Melton, the fair was not specific to any one major, and the experience encompassed all industries.

Dan Berkenkemper, placement coordinator for the Washington Fellowship, also attended the event.

“There are 50 employers that set up shop in the civic center there,” Berkenkemper said. “Students bring their résumés and meet and greet. A lot of students walk away with interviews, and ideally they get jobs as a result of it.”

The Career Center provided students transportation to and from the fair. Berkenkemper said that he hopes more students will get involved with the opportunities the Career Center offers in the future.

“I think there is a disconnect, and I know I went through it as well being an undergrad, where you are so focused on school right now that you forget that you do need to eventually transfer into the real world,” Berkenkemper said.

The Career Premiere Fair helps students make that transition. According to their website, their goal is to close the gap between students and the professional world.

“It’s an easy opportunity for students to be able to interview with several different companies in a matter of three or four hours,” Courtney Tate, employer relations coordinator at the Career Center, said. “It’s a good opportunity if they are looking for a job and for them to line up what they are going to do after college.”
Employers also benefited by being able to talk with students from a range of schools at one event, rather than having to set up booths in every school.

Among the large group of employers was Geico, Chick-fil-A, Verizon and Target. According to Tate, students were given the opportunity to network, one of the best ways to acquire jobs, and they did it with some of the biggest companies in America.

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