Mercury Association encourages students to “paint their path” to career success

Being surrounded by nicely-dressed college students conversing at 8:30 a.m. on a Monday could only mean one thing: UMKC’s annual internship fair has begun.

The UMKC Mercury Association has hosted this event for 31 years, bringing in company recruiters eager to hire hard-working college interns. In some instances, attendees leave the event with an internship position already finalized.

This communication-based career fair brought in several representatives coming from fields such as print journalism, public relations, non-profits and broadcasts from radio and television. Anxious to find passionate new-comers in their field, these employers met with a slew of students with cover letters and resumes in hand.

Mercury Association president Sonia Badji worked tirelessly to bring in employers, as well as spread the word.

“It’s really great to network and I think starting it while you’re in school is a great opportunity,” Badji said.

Badji also noted the fair’s effectiveness, revealing she previously received her first internship offer from the event.

With her experience in planning events for the Mercury Association and networking skills, she obtained an internship with The Midwest Innocence Project (MIP), a non-profit organization that investigates and publicizes cases of wrongful conviction.

When asked what traits they look for when conversing with students, MIP Representatives Bruce Broce and Saber Hossinei said they look for students who are confident in themselves and their abilities. They believe preparing to talk with employers shows enthusiasm and confidence in one’s skill.

“They need to know what part of their experiences really shine,” Hossinei said. “It’s okay to brag a little bit about yourself.”

KMBC 9 Studio also returned, looking for interns wanting to go into broadcast journalism.  According to Community Affairs Director Olivia Dorsey, KMBC has found numerous interns from this event, some of whom turned their internships into full-time positions.

According to Dorsey, their director of engineering began as an intern, working up the ranks after their internship and years of dedication to the network.

Coincidentally, the keynote speaker got their start as a KMBC 9 intern.

KQTV Sports Anchor Adam Orduna spoke to the attending students about how crucial it is to acquire an internship while they’re still working towards their degree.

Graduating from UMKC himself, he described our campus as a “hidden gem” with endless resources to help students prepare for the work force. He advised students to connect with UMKC alumni, as well as professors, to assist in the job search process.

“Somebody always knows somebody,” Orduna said. “That’s how I got my start.”

Above all, Orduna strongly advised students not to get discouraged. He says rejection stands out as the worst part about finding the right place in one’s desired field. However, he stressed the importance of persistence.

“Every no is a step closer to the right yes,” Orduna said.

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