Simpson College recently hosted a career fair for students interested in positions within the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Amongst the 25 employers in attendance was The IMT Group. Locally run from its home office in West Des Moines, Iowa, The IMT Group has been a Midwest insurance company since it was founded in Wadena, Iowa in 1884. The IMT Group’s website boasts to be an insurance company advanced in automation, having won awards for their innovative technology. Being so innovative, it is no surprise that they caught the eye of many Simpson College Computer Science students. Spenser Hardin and Casey Croson were among those students who attended and had the opportunity to connect with The IMT Group at the career fair. Both Spenser and Casey now have stories to share of gainfully securing employment.
Spenser attended the fair seeking a summer internship in the area of computer information systems. She first learned of the fair by an announcement made in one her classes and through the encouragement of Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Mark Brodie. Spenser prepared for the fair by writing a resume and having it reviewed by Career Services’ Career Counselor, Laurie Dufoe. She also selected a professionally appropriate outfit. While at the event, Spenser took time introducing herself to each employer of interest. She noted that all employers were very friendly and willing to talk, but students did need to come prepared with introductions and good questions. After each conversation, she was intentional about asking for each employer’s business card for further connecting. Following the fair, Spenser emailed those employers with whom she had a great conversation.
Spenser was offered three initial interviews with three different companies. She shared that her set of interviews, phone and in-person, with the IMT Group went the best, and she was thrilled to have been offered a position. Prior to interviews, Spenser took time researching the commonly asked interview questions and preparing both quality answers and examples to share during her conversations. Spenser will be a full-time, paid intern, during the summer months. Spenser stated, “I think it is very important for students to attend career fairs; without going, it would have taken me longer to get an internship. It was wonderful to meet all the different employers and get their contact information. My whole spring break was filled with interviews, so I generated a lot of activity by going to the fair. I also think it’s important for students to go so that companies feel like it was worth their time to set up there.”
Casey Croson shared a story similar to Spenser’s, but having gained a full-time position post-graduation. Casey found out about the fair through her Simpson College email account and prepared by updating her resume and creating a LinkedIn profile. Casey was glad she took the time to create a LinkedIn profile, because at The IMT Group’s booth, she had the opportunity to connect with them on-site using a provided tablet. She, too, felt all employers were approachable, but recommended students be assertive by preparing a personal introduction.
Casey also had two interviews with The IMT Group: one over the phone and one in person. To prepare, she researched the company and generated ideas for answers to questions she anticipated would be asked. Casey will start as a full-time, entry-level programmer, following her graduation in June.
Megan Wonsmos, Human Resource Generalist for The IMT Group, was in attendance for the S.T.E.M. Career Fair. The IMT Group feels it important to support and build relationships with local colleges and shared their confidence in Simpson College’s programs.
Reflecting on the two Simpson students The IMT Group hired, Megan shared, “The students we hired both have great technical skills. We have been very impressed with the education Simpson provides to their Information Technology students. The individuals have proved to have good knowledge and skills and the ability to communicate effectively and professionally. Another great aspect of the individuals we hired from Simpson College was their attitude and willingness to learn.”
The S.T.E.M. Career Fair was one of three fairs hosted by Simpson College Career Services during the 2013-2014 academic year. The Business and Communications Career Fair was held in September and The Human Services Career Fair will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 26th. Students interested in the industries of Education, Government, Not for Profits, Social Services, Counseling, Leisure, and Ministry are invited to network with employers at the fair which will be held from 12:00p.m. to 2:00p.m. in Hubbell Hall of the Kent Campus Center. More information can be found here.
For students considering attending the career fair, Megan prompted, “I cannot stress preparation enough. Much of the job search process is actually done before an interview is even scheduled. Always have an up-to-date polished resume. There are several resources out there to help you prepare your resume. Take advantage of them! Before attending the fair, I highly suggest students to do research on the companies that will be in attendance. You can learn a lot about a company just from visiting their website. One thing to keep in mind is that the real world is not organized by major, meaning keep an open mind as to what companies might have opportunities you’d be interested in. Explore your opportunities; you just never know where you might land your dream job.”
Securing an internship or job can be daunting task, but Simpson College Career Services is committed to helping students from the opportunity search to the contract signature.