‘Work it!’ career conference prepares students for workforce

In May 2013, a study from the Georgetown University Center on Education found that 7.9 percent of college graduates are unemployed.

On Feb. 7, the sixth annual Work It! career conference will be held. The goal of this conference is to combat this statistic. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the PUB MPR.

Work It!, presented by EWU Career Services, is geared toward preparing students for the job market and creating networks with business professionals.

Romeal Watson, career service’s internship coordinator and career advisor, said he believes that this conference allows students to take what they are learning from books, classes and professors and apply it to the work force.

“That is mostly what Work it! is about, talking directly with professionals to get inside perspective on what industries are like,” said Watson.

The day will consist of two sessions in the morning and one in the afternoon. Ten different topic areas will be covered, such as social media, etiquette and interviewing. Time has been scheduled at the end of the event for students to network with the various presenters and employers.

The keynote speaker is president and CEO of Desautel-Hege, Michelle Hege, who is also an EWU alumna. She will discuss how students can brand themselves to future employers.

“For a student who is searching the job market, this presentation is really geared towards how to ensure that your personal brand is really strong and is a brand that really helps you stand out from the crowd,” said Hege.

“I am going to share some secrets,” she said. “It’s kind of like you’re hearing what you want the person who is interviewing you to tell you, but they don’t.”

Hege works for the public relations and marketing firm helping businesses with branding and reputation management.

“It’s about differentiating and it’s about preference,” Hege said. “That’s what job candidates want to do.”

Career adviser Shannon Turner said she is most excited about something new they are offering called “The Majors Races.”

“The students from the major with the most attendees at Work it! will have their names entered into a drawing for prizes totaling $500,” said Turner.

She said she believes that this event is overall a great opportunity for students to broaden their perspective of the industry by interacting with business professionals.

“Students who have participated in the past have shared with us that they appreciated the diverse perspectives offered from various panelists,” Turner said.

Senior Theresa Turner attended the conference last year and said she was impressed by the array of professionals as well as networking opportunities.

“It was very beneficial,” Theresa Turner said. “The [employers] really want to talk to you and answer your questions.”

Although this is an all-day event, students are still encouraged to come when they are free.

Turner, who could not stay for the entirety of the event, encourages students to go to any part of the conference they can go to because it is that valuable.

Shannon Turner said she believes that students will gain skills that will set them apart from others looking for a job.

“[Work It!] will prepare students to be more competitive, gain insight in career opportunities and how to actively prepare for them and learn the nuts and bolts of a successful career,” Turner said.

Expected presenters include employers from Itron, Avista, U.S. Marshals, Washington Trust Bank and Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

Admission is $5 per student, and scholarships are available for those who do not have the means to pay. Lunch is included in the registration fee.

If students have not registered, they will be allowed to sign up at the door on the day of the event.

For more information, contact career services at 509-359-6365.

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