Photo by Anna Meassick | (Left to Right) Event Coordinator Kelly Harris, CES specialists Lisa Kuosmanen, Caitlin Broccoli and Douglas Ouimette welcome students to the Fall Networking and Career Fair.
Professional Development Week (PDW) is in full swing at the University of Rhode Island, with students and employers descending upon the Memorial Union all week long.
The URI Career Center puts on the event every year, hoping to give students as many benefits as possible. Ashley Foley, a Career Education Specialist at the Career Center who helped to organize the event, spoke at length about what the benefits of attending PDW are. “To help you be prepared for your job and your internship search, be prepared to enter the workforce and give you those tools you need to succeed, and that’s the whole goal for the week,” said Foley.
Foley said that there were workshops for everyone, no matter what they wanted to get involved with. “Throughout the week we have over 30 workshops that are happening that help you develop your professional self,” said Foley. “Linkedin 101, how to create a cover letter, your personality and your personal brand, things along those lines.”
All of these workshops work towards the goal of the Career Center. Foley said that “Our goal in the career center is to not place students, we don’t place students in jobs that’s not what we do, but we educate them on how to find jobs for themselves, how to write a resume, how to do a job and internship search successfully so when they graduate they have these tools under their belt.”
The week has had many standout events already, such as a fashion show on Monday. The show focused on professional dress, showing students what the professional world looks like.
Tuesday also saw one of the more unique events, an etiquette dinner. The event sold out, with all 120 spots being filled up in advance. For Foley, having this event was crucial to the week as a whole. “A lot of recruiters tell us at the career center that they’re looking for more innovative ways to connect with students rather than at a career fair,” said Foley. “This event specifically as well as the week as a whole allows them to do that.”
One of the highlights from the evening was a section presented by Vice President of Enrollment Management Dean Libutti. Foley explained that “He not only goes into the specific etiquette of eating, and which fork is right for salad, but he talks more about if you’re at a networking event and you’re holding a cold ice glass and you go to shake someone’s hand, it’s going to be clammy hand. So how do you approach that situation.”
On Wednesday the Rainville Ballroom was filled with students hoping to get into the Career Fair. One of the most anticipated events of the week had scores of employers for students to come and network with. “Forty-five-50 employers and they’re across all majors so it’s not for just one student,” said Foley.
The event also had a “green room” for students to prepare with. Foley was proud of the opportunities the students would have before they went into the fair. “We’re really preparing them with professional dress,” said Foley. “How do you feel, is there anything you want to run back to your dorm room and grab, do you want to take your picture for LinkedIn, let’s craft your elevator pitch so before you walk in you’ll have a good understanding of what you want to say to the employer.”
PDW will continue through Friday with even more events open to students to prepare them for after college.