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Published on March 13th, 2013 | by Tia McDonald

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Numbers Rise at Student Career Showcase

Wearing a black cotton pencil skirt and a neatly tucked in, pressed white buttoned shirt, a young girl patiently waited in line at the University of Florida’s (UF) annual Spring Showcase on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at the O’Connell Center. The showcase had over 3,500 students attend from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 243 companies were represented.

According to Heather White, director at the UF Career Resource Center, this is the highest amount of companies to attend in the 20-year span of the event.

“Students have become more aware of the job market since the down turn of economy and become more proactive earlier in the process, where you can see the attendance increasing,” White said.

The two-day showcase has opportunities for all majors and years of ranking, no matter if it is a student’s first or second year attending. Students are encouraged to do research on the company before the interview and are taught the importance of following up afterwards.

“The most impressive thing I’ve observed are students who aren’t graduating in years to come, but they speak to employers about what they can prepare for,” said Drew Shinholster, manager of technical solutions for Sprint Nextel Corporation. “I look for certifications, articulate technical writing skills and over-all balance when choosing a candidate.”

Shinholster graduated from UF 20 years ago and got his current job through the showcase. He says the interviewing process is hard because there is a line full of talented and high achieving students who are going to do what it takes to achieve success.

“With the decline of the economy, being able to speak to recruiters in person, rather than sending a resume and risk it not being seen, is crucial during these times,” said Ashley Axtell, 21, a chemical engineering senior at UF.

In 2012, over 1.8 million jobs were lost in America. Consequently, students are encouraged to be open minded and flexible. The showcase allows students to practice their communication skills, network and apply anywhere from internships to full-time job positions.

“My first experience was rough, as the interviewer tore my resume apart and I left in tears,” said Axsell. “This is my third time attending and I feel confident this year.”

The Career Resource Center was ranked #1 by the Princeton Review for the years of 2010-2012, and it was recognized by the Today Show in 2012 for being one of the best career centers in the country, according to White.

The Fall Career Showcase will be held on Oct. 1-2, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the O’Connell Center. This event is open to UF students and alumni only.

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