By HAL MORRIS
Laura Mattingly ’12 DES, ’13 BE knows the value of a career fair.
She landed her job as a sales representative with American Woodmark, a cabinet manufacturer located in Charlotte, North Carolina, four years ago at the same career fair she was at this week.
“It was whenever the old student center still existed, and I went over there with some of my MBA buddies, and I found a job,” said Mattingly, who noted these job fairs are the best place to get your foot in the door. “It gets you a lot of exposure to a lot of companies that you would never know anything about. I had never heard of American Woodmark until I walked into the career fair. And I’ll be there five years in June.”
The Gatton College of Business and Economics hosted the College of Engineering’s career and internship fair on Tuesday, then held its own event on Wednesday.
Alumni in attendance at both events said it was important for them to be able to give current Wildcats a chance at getting their foot in the door of their companies.
“It’s important to me but I’m probably biased,” said Daniel Vu ’10 EN, a project manager with Cincinnati firm Thorson Baker & Associates. “I found my co-op at a career fair so I feel I owe it to the university to give back.”
While many companies may have been looking for employees with particular skills to match a particular opening, Rajan Shakula ’10 BE, vice president of strategy and operations and biotech startup USIOL Inc. of Lexington, was simply looking for talented individuals.
“Part of it is meeting students who have unique skill sets, and something we can build a position around if they have that type of ambition and if it looks like they’re going to be a good fit for one of our product lines,” he said. “I definitely see a lot of value in coming to these kind of events.
“There are a lot of great high-tech things going on in Lexington, Kentucky, that people should know about. You don’t have to go to Silicon Valley or a Boston or New York to be a part of something like this.”
Bob Martin ’87 EN and Amanda Akers ’16 EN were on hand from Alcoa Corp. out of Newburgh, Indiana. Martin said it was the first time in 20 years the company had been back at UK recruiting potential employees.
“We had narrowed our colleges down and looked at those in Indiana and Missouri, so we’re broadening out and coming back to UK,” said Martin, who was glad to be back even before he made it in the door. “I normally recruit at Purdue, so this is a lot more fun to come back here. I have to say through the introduction I had, coming up Administration Drive and having students help unload, that’s not an experience I’ve ever had before at one these things. That is a great help.”
Akers herself was impressed with how much work the schools put into these events.
“I was in the Society of Women Engineers when I was here, and I know they’ve got a pretty heavy hand in what goes on,” she said. “I attended the career fair and I know how many good students we have. So I think it’s pretty awesome we are able to come back and recruit from here.”
Amanda Tenney ’15 ’16 BE, a project delivery analyst with Deliotte Consulting in Frankfort is not so far removed from the job hunting process that she can’t appreciate how important these events are to job hunters. She also knows how good the prospects are at UK.
“I can’t wait to talk to potential recruits and get some UK talent to Frankfort,” she said. “Because I know it’s definitely here.”