COBE professional development event prepares students for career fairs, job searches


Juna Gjata takes time to learn the proper way to dine as she talks with Barbara Griffith from RU Catering about business etiquette at the dinner table during the Experience Business Casually event.

First-year MBA student Jena Braden is looking forward to earning her advanced degree and beginning a job search.

In preparation, the New Knoxville, Ohio native made the rounds at the numerous tables at the College of Business and Economics' annual Experience Business Casually event on Sept. 9, held in the COBE Building's Multipurpose Room. Twenty-two professionals from more than 14 businesses and organizations attended.

Professionals served as coaches to offer students expertise regarding resumes, interviewing, introductions, first impressions and personal pitch, presenting a professional image, dress, appropriate use of social media, handshakes, networking, finding your passion and dining etiquette. Representatives also coached students on getting into graduate school and finding internships.

"I learned so much here today, and it's such an amazing event," said Braden. "I learned everything from tips about my shoes to my handshake to what to put on my LinkedIn profile. And, I learned more about resumes and body language."

Eric Lovelance, a senior from Martinsville majoring in marketing and minoring in information systems, said he attended Experience Business Casually to "take advantage of everything offered here today" and to "figure out what I can do to benefit myself whenever I start looking for a job."

Lovelace also learned that confidence is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for wooing a potential employer. "I learned the best ways to make a good first impression and to be confident in everything you say, even if you aren't feeling completely confident," he said.


Giancarla Rojas and Aisha Foy listen as Ashly Poindexter, an intern with the RU Alumni Office, talks with them about what they can expect at a career fair.

James Eggers of Riner is double majoring in management and marketing. He attended the event for advice on job interviews and his resume. "I wanted to learn anything I could about potential job interviews," Eggers said. "My resume is kind of shabby, so I wanted to get some pointers, and I did."

Among the numerous professionals offering helpful tips at the event was Erika Perdue '97, MBA '04. Perdue, a member of COBE's Alumni Advisory Council, attended Experience Business Casually to inform the eager-to-learn students about the proper way to handle a phone interview or the call inviting them for an interview.

So, what did she tell her student visitors?

"I tell them be professional, remember your manners, remember you're talking to your potential employer, make sure your voicemail greeting is professional, be in a quiet place when you receive the call and keep your phone charged," she said. "You don't want to tell them, ‘oh, I can't talk to you right now; my phone is dying.'''

Donna Spangler with Nordson Xaloy in Pulaski said Experience Business Casually was a "great way to get to know the students at Radford University." She said her company may also be looking for "a couple of interns for next summer."

RU MBA director Stacey Turmel advised students to find a way to "differentiate" themselves on the job market.

"You need to be able to niche yourself, and having an advanced degree in business is one of those fantastic ways to do it," Turmel said. "It will help give you a particular edge, and you need to give yourself all the edges you can."

Sep 16, 2014