Making the most of a career fair requires preparation

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Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu
Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu

Ben Nelson

CONTRIBUTOR

The spring 2016 career fair, held on Feb. 23 at Baxter Arena, will bring close to 100 employers offering everything from internships to full-time positions. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Aside from job hunting, there will be staff on hand to set visitors up with a professional headshot, free of charge. There will also be 15 minute “career talks,” where university faculty and employer partners discuss job fields to provide insight to students.

The career fair, organized by the Academic and Career Development Center (ACDC), is a tremendous tool to help students explore job opportunities within their degree field, as well as make valuable face-to-face contact with employers.

Katie Wessel, assistant director for career advising, said when comparing this fair to ones in the past, “this is a more professional networking opportunity where they [students] will be getting personal connections with actual potential employers.”

In comparison, the fair held during the first week of the Fall 2015 semester was focused on attendees finding immediate work not necessarily aligned with long-term goals.

Dilshod Marupov is a junior majoring in computer science and will be looking to leverage the upcoming fair as he has in the past. “I just want to find out who to look for in employers after I graduate,” Marupov said.

Marupov says he finds these career events to sometimes be beneficial over traditional job hunting.

“Sometimes you do get an on-the-spot interview, but you don’t get a chance to prepare for a specific company.”

In fact, ACDC has published a list of employers that will be attending the fair. Students like Marupov will be able to use the list to help them prepare a game plan and seek out a few of the 96 employers relevant to them and best use their time.

This may go without saying, but when interviewing, students should dress for the job they want.

Marupov said, “I update my resume. I also dress up like I would at any other interview.” Wessel agrees, “professional attire is recommended. Do not forget hygiene and keep smells to a minimum.” I for one will be leaving the Sex Panther at home.

Don’t forget a resume! Those who don’t have one can make an appointment with a counselor from ACDC, located in the Eppley Administration building, for assistance with updating one or building the resume from scratch.

In addition to normal appointment times, ACDC will hold a career fair preparation class at CEC Feb. 18 from 2-4 p.m. The class is open to all students. Students can get help with their resumes and conduct mock interviews to better their chances of finding success at the actual fair.

Marupov is on the right track, using the fair to meet employers that he’ll see in the future because job offers usually don’t happen over night. Wessel said company representatives remember faces, which can be useful to the job seeker who performed well initially.

Lastly, there is a final touch that could make students stand out to an employer. “Try to exchange contact information with employers and send them an email thanking them,” Wessel said.

College is going to end soon enough for us all. Use the tools offered by ACDC like career fairs and resume review to gain an upper hand and get a job you can be proud of and enjoy, not one you have to settle for!

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