Career Kickstart

ECU students, alumni attend Job and Internship Fair

East Carolina University has built of reputation of landing jobs for its graduates. Matt Connor should know.

The 2019 graduate in economics works at Gibson Consultants in Wilmington, and he was back in Greenville Wednesday to recruit more ECU students to the company as part of the Job and Internship Fair at the Greenville Convention Center.

Connor said he first learned of Gibson Consultants — a company that helps health plans, hospitals and digital health companies recruit top talent — during an ECU job fair in 2018.

“What I feel this career fair does is put opportunities right in front of the students’ faces,” Connor said. “They can go network and speak to employers. I had a few interviews after this career fair, so it really does just bring opportunities to the students. A lot of students don’t take jobs in Greenville, and they don’t have a lot of time to say travel to Charlotte and meet 40 companies in a day. Without this career fair, I think it would close a huge opportunity that the students have.”

One of those students is junior accounting major Jacob Cherry, who came to the fair looking at all businesses rather than just accounting firms.

“I came here knowing that there are not going to be too many accounting firms, but most of these organizations and companies have accounting departments, so I’m looking to get an internship maybe in an accounting department in one of these companies,” Cherry said.

Matt Connor, left, who graduated from ECU in May and works at Gibson Consultants in Wilmington, talks to a student about the company at the job fair. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Cherry, dressed in a tie and jacket, said he knew the importance of the fair, even if he’s not looking for a full-time job right now.

“Some of my teachers were saying that even if you aren’t looking for a job to go and practice your networking, get out there and just talk to firms, experiment and see what you like to do,” Cherry said. “You can find out what you would like to do and where you would like to work, at the least, and at the most, find a job.”

The career fair, which included the Engineering, Technology, and Management Career Fair during the morning, drew more than 1,500 ECU students and alumni. A recent Gallup survey showed that ECU graduates — compared to national averages — have higher levels of engagement in the workplace, stronger wellbeing, feel more prepared for life after graduation and believe their educations were worth the cost.

Statistics liked those helped draw more than 150 employers to Wednesday’s event, including ECU graduates T.J. Holloway ’16 and KeyKey Williams ’18 from Hess Construction in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“Hess really does benefit from this fair,” said Holloway, an assistant project manager. “A lot of our executives and a lot of our project managers came out of ECU. We make it a point to come down to get some of the talent that we know is coming out of here.”

Williams said the company was looking for internships as well as some full-time employees.

“I look for students who are enthusiastic about what we do,” Williams said. “That’s a big part of what I look for.”

Freshman Clayton Robinson, an information and computer technology major, said that though he’s not looking for a full-time job yet, he felt attending the fair was important.

“I wanted to just get my foot in the door with a lot of the companies that are here,” Robinson said. “A lot of the companies seemed interesting. I just wanted to get my name out there.”

Brittany Olivierre speaks with a potential employeer during the annual Job and Internship Fair at the Greenville Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

ECU junior Ashley Arensberg is looking toward a career in architectural design.

“My goal is to get a summer internship, possibly in the architectural design field, but if I have to do something in construction, I definitely have an open mind to different opportunities,” she said.

The career fair was Arensberg’s second.

“There are a lot of companies I haven’t heard of, which is nice, and a lot of the companies that have been here before,” she said. “I was able to talk to some new people and get an updated resume out to them, so overall, it was good.”

ECU Career Services hosted the event, and for those who missed it, another is scheduled for the spring semester on Feb. 20. For more information, visit the Career Services website.

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ECU student Brandt Mitchell, left, talks with T.J. Holloway, center, and KeyKey Williams of Hess Construction. (Photo by Ken Buday)