Job fair shows options to retail-design students

by Peter Frost

More than 75 students armed with resumÇs and clad in freshly pressed business attire swarmed the St. Paul Student Center on Monday for the annual retail-merchandising career fair.
The event, sponsored by the career services center at the College of Human Ecology and the Minnesota Collegiate Retail Association, featured about 25 merchandising and fashion-design companies.
The hour-and-a-half informational session introduced students to job opportunities and different career paths.
“We try to do everything we can to get students acquainted with their own career goals and, in turn, get them jobs with the company they like the best,” said Sara Nagel, director of the college’s career service center.
“The information fair is a way of connecting students with the various companies in the job market and helping them get internships and full-time jobs,” Nagel said.
Representatives from Dayton’s, Aveda, Best Buy, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Wilson’s Leather and others not only provided company information, but also did a bit of recruiting.
“There’s a really good variety of companies here,” said Kathy Ryan, a junior retail merchandising major.
“Today, I’m trying to make some contacts and get some information on where to get an internship,” she said. “I really need to start building my resumÇ before it’s too late.”
Ryan said internships are more important for her and her classmates since they’re earning their degrees in the School of Human Ecology rather than the business school.
“In retail merchandising, we have more to offer companies because our major is more specialized, but I still feel like we really have to compete with Carlson,” she said.
But senior fashion merchandise major Sarah Deuth was more confident of her position in the job market.
“Basically, we’re getting a fashion degree and a business degree in one — so we are much more qualified (than Carlson School graduates) for certain jobs,” Deuth said.
“The fashion aspect is really interesting,” she added. “The industry offers a lot of travel, room for creativity and independence.”
Deuth hopes to land a job as a magazine’s fashion director but said she’s got a way to go before that happens.
“I’m here to network, look for information about internships and jobs and basically find out what sort of career plan I’ll have to follow to get where I want to be,” she said.

Peter Frost covers business and welcomes comments at [email protected].