The Career Services Center’s biggest job fair of the year started at 1 p.m. on Friday, with the halls and rooms of the Atwood Memorial Center filled with employers waiting to meet SCSUs students.
Hundreds of SCSU students suited up and headed off to meet some of the 84-featured employers at the Diversity Job and Internship Fair on Friday. Signs pointed in multiple directions, aiming to guide students in various employers’ direction, while a 23-page booklet gave brief descriptions of the companies and who they were looking to hire.
While some employers were set up on the main floor in Atwood, Lexy Aldope, with Career Services, helped check students in upstairs, giving them information about the event and a name tag before letting them head off into the crowd.
“This is a 600-student event,” she said. “There are a lot of students fighting for attention.”
“Definitely since there are so many employers coming from the cities, if they [students] have a certain employer in mind…do your research before you come,” Aldope said. “Don’t ever ask questions that are on the website.”
Aldope recommends aiming for an internship or “real-world experience” to put on a resume, and when writing up a cover letter, she said it can be helpful for students to research the position ahead of time to see what “key components” should be included in the letter.
Cathy Green, HR Business Partner with Ulteig Engineers Inc., had similar advice to extend to students looking to get an edge in the job search.
“It’s really great for us to see that they [students] have had internship experience,” and leadership skills, she said.
According to the 2015 Minnesota College Job Outlook survey, which is based on active recruiters for Minnesota graduates shows that 60.2 percent of the employers selected that they hire based out of internship programs.
The survey also shows that 95.2 percent said they recruit from job fairs.
As an employer, Green said that they look for proficiency within the student’s major, along with people that are “great communicators, have flexibility, [and] adaptability.”
For those students that have little, or even no, working experience outside of the campus environment, Green said students should “be willing to try things.”
“You might not go to where you initially think you’re going,” she said. “Just be willing to try things, just go for it.”
But, while students are still in the earlier stages of the job search, Green said that when drafting cover letters or resumes, it’s going to give students an advantage to be able to make it as relevant and tailored to the company as possible.
“Anything you can do to personalize it to the company, something to show you’ve taken a look at the company, and that you’re interested in that specific company is going to help you,” she said.
For students looking to find some experience for the summer, like Benjamin Bauer, a Nursing major at SCSU, having employs look over resumes and cover letters, and give feedback might prove favorable when looking for a career.
Bauer said that after graduating with a degree in Biology, he spent a few years working in the medical field until deciding to turn back around for a Nursing degree.
“I couldn’t really find a career,” he said. “I found jobs, but nothing I could do long-term.”
“When you’re in the ‘real world,’ you don’t have studying to at night, so it’s nice to have your nights free, but you also are tired, because you’re getting up at 5 o’clock [a.m.] and going to work, then getting off at 4:30 or 5 o’clock [p.m.] and you’re just ready for bed.”
“Enjoy college while you can,” he continued. “It’s a lot different.”
After having only been at the fair for a brief time, Bauer said he’s was able to get a lot of information on summer internship and work opportunities, along with graduate school information. His main goal for making his way through the crowded halls and rooms of Atwood was to build up his contacts list, and to find a new experience for the summer.
“I think it’s a good way to get your name out, see what’s out there,” he continued. “You walk around and you see 15 different companies and you’re like, that’s something I’ve actually never thought about but it would be good for the summer to get some experience.”
“I think the big benefit to it [the Fair] is everybody goes with what they’re used to, but they never think about the 15 other jobs that they’d be good at, or that they would enjoy,” he said. “Coming to this, you get to see what’s out there and what’s available.”
To step outside of his comfort zone, Bauer said that instead of looking for a job in a hospital, he’s decided to switch gears by going for a more in-home work environment, specifically something that gives him the chance to help patients in their home.
“And this is cool because it’s something that I would’ve had to take five hours of my time searching all the different places, and finding out how to talk to people,” he said. “I come here and talk to everybody in an hour.”
The first annual Summer/Fall Internship fair was hosted on Wednesday by St. Cloud State’s Career Services Center.