Go Pro! Networking Event prepares students to become professionals

The Career Exploration and Development (CED) department, along with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, hosted the Go Pro! Pre-Homecoming Networking Event Friday. 

The networking event was comprised of panelists, alumni, faculty and students from different background areas. The event was created for students to become more comfortable with networking before the Fall Career Fair next Wednesday, Sept. 25.

“What we know is that when students do not show for the career fair, oftentimes it’s because they don’t feel that they’re prepared,” said Felicia Johnson, Kent State alumni and CED career advisor.

Johnson said the event was a preparation workshop for students involving interviewing skills, career readiness skills and other soft skills employers are looking for. 

The Go Pro! Career Fair Prep Event occurred prior to the networking event at the CUE and featured panelists from a variety of disciplines.

Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives Julie Messing said she wishes they had more networking events during her college experience and she’s heard other colleagues saying the same. 

“Before (networking events), students had nowhere to turn,” Messing said. “What a great chance to bring people together and get people out of their comfort zone.”

Raymond Kirkpatrick, executive in residence with the CED, said networking is a two-way street. 

“It’s not just meeting new people to help you,” he said. “It’s talking with a variety of people who can help each other and provide information that you don’t know which might be about career opportunities or it might be about career preparation.”

Imani Johnson, junior fashion design major, said the event motivated her to think more about her future. 

“I feel like since there’s a lot of people here it’ll maybe connect me with some mentors or somebody that they may know in the field,” Johnson said. 

Students, alumni and panelists at the event had different opinions on whether the job industry is more about who a potential job candidate knows or what those job candidates know. Samuel Sims, junior computer science major, said it depends. 

“If you’re a superstar in school it’s more about what you know; if you’re a social butterfly, it’s more about who you know,” Sims said. 

Messing, however, seemed to believe differently. 

“It’s about who you know, hands down,” she said. “You have to know your stuff to keep it up, but it’s who you know to get in the door, and what you know to really build upon that.”

At the event, the students relayed the most beneficial advice they’ve been given about college. Sims said the most helpful advice he’s received is to strengthen time management skills. The most beneficial advice Johnson said she’s received is to follow her dreams. 

“Because I’m a senior, I’ve kind of been struggling with figuring out what route I wanted to go in and if I wanted to go the traditional route or if I wanted to pursue what I actually wanted to do,” Johnson said. “Being at this event actually affirmed that I should figure out how to accomplish my dream.” 

Contact Linden Miller at [email protected].