Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"The Globe" issue 6 (article)

Third annual job fair offers students networking opportunity
by Joel Brewton 

The third annual job and internship fair is being held today at Point Park University. Over 78 companies are on site recruiting and offering a variety of services to the candidates, leaving many students' stack of resumes severely depleted.

Career Services counselor Angela Meiers is on-hand to discuss preparation tips as well as expanding on the importance of attending a job fair even if one already has current employment. Meiers said networking is the most important step for students at this point in their careers.

"If you are working part time or if you have an internship then obviously you'll be graduating sometime in the near future," Meiers said. "It's a good way to make contacts so that if there is a company that you're interested in then you can network with that recruiter, keep in touch with them so that when you are ready to graduate you can see what positions are available."

Informational interviews and job shadowing are other offers that Meiers recommends looking for when networking. She said that keeping in touch with the companies one is interested in is important in order to be a memorable candidate and also to ensure one's own opinions about the field or industry to make sure it is what one wants.

Preparation for a job fair is not something to be taken lightly. Meier's highly recommends scheduling an appointment with Career Services to review resumes, cover letters and even have mock interviews.

"If you don't have time to come into the office then we can get back to you via e-mail or even schedule a phone appointment with you," Meiers said. "I also highly recommend preregistering [for the job fair] because I send out a reminder e-mail and also job fair tips to those who preregister."

Thank you letters after the fair are also crucial. Meiers said it is one of the best ways to be remembered as the recruiters undoubtedly receive dozens of resumes throughout the day. Taking time to write back, just as they took time to visit the campus to speak with students, can only improve networking.

This year's fair is held in the Student Center gymnasium rather than the Lawrence Hall Ballroom where it has been held in previous years. Many students noted the change in venue. Meiers said that it was due to the increased number of companies at the fair this year.

"Each year the number [of employers] goes up," Meiers said. "Last year the ballroom couldn't hold all the employers so we actually had to have some employers on the fourth floor in the Commuter Lounge."

"The job fair at Robert Morris University has fewer employers this year than us," said career counselor Mark Platts.

Platts worked previously at Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, where he helped to promote job fairs for business and marketing classes. He said it is experience and rehearsals that can be most useful even if one is not currently seeking employment because it helps to get comfortable communicating with a potential superior.

"The earlier you get started the more comfortable [it is]," Platts said.

Comfort is another detail which sets Point Park's job fair apart from others. Business casual attire was requested as opposed to formal business attire, which is what is required at other fairs, such as the WestPACS job fair.

"We know that a lot of students don't have professional dress clothes or they may be coming in between classes," Meiers said. "But if you can come wearing professional clothing that would be ideal [...] ‘You can never be overdressed' is what we say here."

Elsie Boucek of Career Counseling said business casual calls for collared shirts and clean pants for men and blouses or sweaters for women.

"Keep it neat and nothing too extreme," Boucek said. "Women tend to go a little more extreme than men do, especially with open-toed shoes.

Price is another matter when it comes to dress. Boucek recommends stores like Target and J.C. Penney where they have many selections and are relatively inexpensive. Thrift stores are also an option, but Boucek said people who shop at thrift stores for dress clothes run the risk of their clothes not looking as neat and fresh as some employers would prefer.

"If you do [shop at thrift stores] then I recommend classic styles in dark colors and just keep it simple," Boucek said.

For those looking for more opportunities, the annual WestPACS job and internship fair will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Monroeville Convention Center. Student registration will open soon on WestPACS' website, http://www.westpacs.org.

No comments:

Post a Comment