Davor Srsen was in the middle of the arduous task of finishing his masters’ degree the last time the University’s Centre for Career Education held an event to showcase for students some of the region’s most promising employment sectors.
“I was rushing to finish, but I got an e-mail about the career fair and I decided to check it out,” said the recent graduate of electrical engineering.
Figuring it might be a good chance to do some networking, he put on a suit, made copies of his resume and went to the Working in Windsor-Essex Career Fair. It turned out to be one of the best moves he’s ever made.
A vision specialist who studied how sensors, lasers, cameras and other optical systems can be used in manufacturing systems, he met some people from Radix Controls Inc., a local solutions company that designs custom systems for heavily automated manufacturers looking to improve the efficiency of their processes. After meeting with the reps from the company – one of only two in the area that does the kind of work he was interested in – he got in a line to have his resume critiqued, only to find that the person reviewing it was also from Radix. That person asked if she could call him later for an interview.
With that kind of luck Srsen figured he was meant to work there. Not long after, he landed a job at the company, located in a south-end industrial park, and he’s been there ever since, doing rewarding work in his field that he says is both challenging and intellectually stimulating.
“I’m doing everything that I enjoyed doing in school,” he said. “Everybody from the bosses down to the guys I work with are very nice, and everybody gets along real well. It probably would have taken a lot longer to find this company on my own.”
Within his first week on the job, Srsen solved a problem for an important client and his employers are very happy with his performance, said Shelley Fellows, vice-president of operations at Radix. Fellows also chairs the board of Workforce Windsor-Essex, an organization that advocates for regional workforce development, while trying to retain and recruit a wide range of skilled workers to meet the area’s economic and social development needs. The organization also works closely with the university on planning the career fair.
“We love to support the program and the work with the university,” said Fellows. “We’ve made a number of hires as a result of the university’s co-op program.”
And while Srsen’s story is a good one, finding a job isn’t the only intended outcome of the career fair, according to Kerry-Ann Gray, acting director of the Centre for Career Education. The point is for students to have the opportunity to explore potential career paths with local organizations that are best suited to their degree, and to hear about promising sectors and occupations.
“Employers are not here to recruit but rather to meet with students to discuss what they are looking for in employees in terms of education and experience,” Gray says. “Students can treat this as a learning opportunity and a chance to hear about career paths they may never have considered.”
The next career fair – which this year is being called Career Expo – will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on October 4 in Ambassador Auditorium. Srsen strongly suggested students should attend and had some advice for those who are going.
“Take advantage of the opportunities there such as resume critiquing,” he said. “It’s good to get inside their heads and understand what they’re thinking and what they’re looking for. And do some research on the companies that will be there. They like it if you’ve done some homework in advance.”
Students interested in attending should register for the event at myCareer, which can be accessed through the myUWindsor student portal.