On Tuesday, October 20, more than 1,000 Hokies will attend the Fall Connection Job Fair, decked out in business attire and donning resumes.

But some of those Hokies will be here on a return trip to their alma mater, recruiting other Hokies to join their workforce.

Brian Painter (’04 Industrial and Systems Engineering) will represent Tindall Corporation at the career fair.

“Of the colleges that Tindall recruits from, we have consistently found Virginia Tech students to be among the top tier,” said Painter.

The Fall Connection Job Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. in Commonwealth Ballroom at Squires Student Center. Sponsored by Career Services, this career fair is unique in that it is open to all students—both undergraduate and graduate—and all majors.

“These are excellent opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to a professional environment and to explore career options,” said Donna Ratcliffe, director of Career Services. “Job fairs are a wonderful way for Virginia Tech students to connect with hiring organizations to discover ways to gain experience prior to graduation and job openings upon graduation. We encourage all students to take advantage of this fair and the many others scheduled at Virginia Tech.”

Last year’s Spring Connection Job Fair hosted 125 employers and 1,275 students. Employers attend the Fall and Spring Connection Job Fairs to hire for full-time, part-time, internship, and co-op positions.

“Employers have a wide range of choices as to which universities to target in their recruiting efforts,” said Jim Henderson, Career Services’ associate director for employer relations. “Virginia Tech has consistently been identified as a university of choice by many top employers from across the country. Employers always tell us that they love to come to Virginia Tech and that our students really stand out in comparison to many of the other schools they visit.”

Tony Orband (’08 Horticulture) emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded student.

“Because of passionate instructors, hands-on experience, high-quality guest speakers, and strong relationships with the industry, Virginia Tech students have a tremendous opportunity to learn and launch into a promising career,” said Orband. “I can’t stress enough the importance of internships to gain experience and to help a student focus on their goals.”

Orband works for Hidden Lane Residential Landscapes, and, coincidentally, all eight of the company’s office staff are Virginia Tech alumni.

Students are encouraged to prepare beforehand by researching attending employers, perfecting resumes, developing their elevator pitches, and reviewing interview skills. Career Services provides assistance in all aspects of career fair preparation, and a compilation of relevant information can be found in the Career Planning Guide.

“In addition to coursework, internships, and extracurricular activities, Tech students impress us each year with their preparedness and the quantity of research done on their part before the career fair,” said Painter. “By not giving the same ‘what we do’ speech all day, we have more time to find out about the students and discuss in detail our operations and needs.”

Many alumni who are returning to recruit found their current positions through Career Services. Nick Mansouri (’14 Civil and Environmental Engineering) was hired in his current position as a branch manager at Professional Service Industries, Inc. through Hokies4Hire, and he encourages students to engage in-person at career fairs.

“I recommend that a face-to-face meet-and-greet at a fair is a much better pre-qualifier than a resume,” said Mansouri.

Following the Fall Connection Job Fair, on-campus interviews may be scheduled for Wednesday, October 21 in either Squires Student Center or Smith Career Center. Students who receive interviews will be contacted directly by employers and should be prepared to identify times in which they are available for interviews.

As Virginia Tech welcomes alumni back to campus for the Fall Connection Job Fair, employers anxiously await engaging with interested students.

It’s not just interactions with Virginia Tech students that these alumni are looking forward to, though.

Orband shared that he’s looking forward to catching up with former professors and classmates. Painter is looking forward to a walk across the Drillfield, and Mansouri said, “I would love to stop back at West End for a steak—and maybe two or three other meals.”

Written by Holly Paulette.

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