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Northwest students connected with employers during "Speed Networking," a program organized by Career Services to help students practice making a strong first impression. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest students connected with employers during "Speed Networking," a program organized by Career Services to help students practice making a strong first impression. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Oct. 1, 2018

Speed networking helps students practice conversation skills


Richard Bird, a 1997 alumnus now employed by the Missouri Department of Social Services-Children's Division, was among the Northwest graduates and employers who provided guidance to students participating in the program.

Richard Bird, a 1997 alumnus now employed by the Missouri Department of Social Services-Children's Division, was among the Northwest graduates and employers who provided guidance to students participating in the program.

Nick Morrow, a senior computer science major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said he participated in the speed networking to establish some professional connections that may help him later and correct any nervous habits that my impact an employer’s first impression.

Nick Morrow, a senior computer science major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said he participated in the speed networking to establish some professional connections that may help him later and correct any nervous habits that my impact an employer’s first impression.

Beth Wells, a senior elementary education major from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was among the 60 students who participated in the speed networking to practice the way she converses with potential employers in preparation for the Northwest’s Education Expo and Mock Interview Day.

Beth Wells, a senior elementary education major from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was among the 60 students who participated in the speed networking to practice the way she converses with potential employers in preparation for the Northwest’s Education Expo and Mock Interview Day.

Northwest Missouri State University students put their conversation skills to the test Tuesday when Career Services hosted its first “Speed Networking” event, which gave the students an opportunity to talk with employers and try making a strong first impression.

The event was designed to be fun and fast while lessening the anxiety students sometimes feel when they walk into the interview room.

“We’ve been hearing from students that small talk and being able to engage at the table was difficult, so this was a way for them to practice,” Travis Kline, a career development coordinator at Northwest, said. “A lot of these people will be back for Career Day, and we’re trying to help the students recognize that they’re people and they can just talk.”

With tables arranged in a circle in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom, employers sat on the inside of the circle as participating students rotated around the tables, taking their turns to sit with each employer. Students had 90 seconds to make a connection with each employer.

Participating employers were Cerner Corporation, the Child and Family Center of Northwest Missouri, Diversicare, HumanGood, the Missouri Department of Social Services - Children's Division, the Northeast Nodaway R-V School District, Northwestern Mutual, Nucor, Renaissance Financial and Sandhills Publishing, AGP, Community Hospital of Fairfax, and Smithfield Hog Production.

Beth Wells, a senior elementary education major from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, was among the 60 students who participated in one of two sessions hosted by Career Services Tuesday afternoon. She was interested in practicing the way she converses with potential employers in preparation for the Northwest’s Education Expo and Mock Interview Day.

“One of the things I’m noticing is how much I talk,” she said. “And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m finding a way to let the other person talk or find a better balance.”

Wells found a balance when she stepped up to meet with Ken Scribner, the vice president of Cerner’s remote hosting division. He praised Wells for the enthusiasm and passion she showed as she walked to the table and shook his hand.

Scribner, a 1987 Northwest graduate, said the most important piece for students was to practice telling their stories.

“When you give a speech, the easiest speech to give is about a topic that you know really, really well, and the hardest speech to give is about a topic that you don’t know well,” he said. “When you’re in an interview, you’re really just giving a speech and the topic is yourself, and there’s no one who knows yourself better than you. So it should be the easiest speech to give.”

The speed networking event is just one of several programs Career Services offers to Northwest students throughout the academic year.

“I think it’s really awesome that Career Services cares about us getting jobs and cares about us getting those social skills,” Wells said. “It’s really cool that they can get us comfortable with that peace of mind when you walk into an interview, to not be like ‘this is the first time I’ve ever talked to anyone’ and feel confident that you can do it.”

Career Services hosts its annual fall Education Expo from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and Career Day from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse for students to network with potential employers and graduate schools.

Career Services also will host its annual Mock Interview Day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Student Union. The event helps students gain interviewing experience by meeting face-to-face with real employers who provide students with direct feedback on their résumé, interview responses and overall impression. 

At Northwest, 97 percent of bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, has named Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.

For more information about any of the available services at Career Services contact at 660.562.1250 or career@nwmissouri.edu, or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/career.  


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468