WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Earning a college degree requires plenty of hard work.

Parlaying that degree into a career requires more than a lot of luck. It comes down to standing out from a crowded field of job candidates. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us how hundreds of local college students tried on Thursday to do just that.

Making the rounds of more than 85 prospective employers, Wilkes University senior Alec Levin stopped at the Procter & Gamble table.

“I really want to go into finance,” he told the P&G volunteer recruiter.

The finance major from Cape May, New Jersey who’s learned about monetary investments has learned about another during his time at Wilkes: developing his personal brand to prepare for a job interview.

“I’m just going to try to make a good first impression, leave my resume there and go on and apply for a job and see what I can do from there,” said Mr. Levin.

Opportunity is really what Wilkes University’s Internship, Graduate School and Career Fair is all about. To prepare for experiences like this, Wilkes students, no matter their major, are taught what’s called personal professional development.

Wilkes University Director of Internships & Parent Programs Sharon Castano said, “It’s your ability to sell yourself and your abilities. I definitely think it’s your first impression. That’s what we’re telling them.”

Ms. Castano said pursuing career opportunities comes down to learning how to dress professionally, how you introduce yourself and even how to research a company before going on an interview.

So with only a matter of months before he graduates what impression did Mr. Levin make? Procter & Gamble Mechanical Engineer and Volunteer Recruiter Sean Reese of Dalton said, “Alec was very nice. He was very professional. It’s something that, something that we would look for and he carried himself well.”

Even though there may be more at stake at this event for upperclassmen, it didn’t mean the experience was any less valuable for underclassmen. Freshmen and sophomore students got to work on their comfort level while there’s still plenty of time before they’re out in the real world.

This marked the second career fair at Wilkes that sophomore communications major Hope Williams has attended. The 20-year-old East Stroudsburg woman’s goal at the event? To put her best foot forward.

When asked if she felt she did that, Ms. Williams said, “I do. I feel confident today. I do and I’m really happy with the turnout at today’s event and I can’t wait until next year.”

Besides all of the employers on hand, nearly four dozen graduate and professional schools also participated. Wilkes alumni interested in jobs or internships were also welcome to attend the event.