Networking 101 event helps students make the most out of job fairs

Published by adviser, Author: Maria Heintzinger - Campus Life Contributor, Date: September 26, 2013
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Networking 101 and Making the Most out of a Job Fair hosted by Career Education and Development on Tuesday in the Smith Student Center ballroom prepared students for the basics on how to succeed at a job search, whether this Thursday’s job fair was a student’s first, or their millionth.

“Job fairs are not just a matter of showing up; they take planning,” said John Rindy, Director of The Office of Career Education and Development.

This is where Rindy and his Career Team come in.  Preparedness in their eyes is nothing short of having a revised and polished resume, printing a resume on appropriate resume paper, dressing professionally, and entering the fair enthusiastically with a strategy.

“Part of the reason recruiters choose to come back the following year is their perception of the preparedness of the Slippery Rock students who attend the fair,” said Rindy.

The Career Education and Development Office has always helped to prepare students for their future and guide them on how to stand out from their competition.  For many years, the office has sponsored the Networking 101 and Making the Most out of a Job Fair event and brought in a variety of speakers to discuss what they look for most when recruiting.  Jamie Timms, a Talent Acquisition Manager for Enterprise Holdings, and one of the most active recruiters for college campuses in this region, was their choice for this fall semester.

“Tailor your resume for your top five companies, be professionally dressed, and [be sure you can] execute your elevator speech with ease,” said Timms.

In addition to this advice she gives college students in regards to attending a job fair, Timms also feels that the most important attributes to have which employers first look for are good communications skills, leadership ability, work ethic, being results driven, being flexible, dealing well with customer service orientation, and having a certain level of persuasiveness.

After leaving the informational meeting Tuesday, many students felt they were much better informed on how to prepare and organize themselves.

“I realized I need to prepare a lot more… I really like that she took the time to go through everything with us and made us feel comfortable for the job fair Thursday,” said sophomore accounting major Katelin McCallan, 19.

Slippery Rock hosts a number of job fairs throughout the year, but the one that took place Thursday afternoon expected between 250 and 300 students from Slippery Rock, not including students from other campuses.  There were approximately 50 tables booked with the entire Student Center Ballroom sold out and tables were extended out into the hallway.  More than a dozen companies were new to Slippery Rock job fairs, and there were also a few tables set up for Slippery Rock graduate programs.

Even though there are usually this many recruiters that attend events like this, students tend to shy away from the companies not looking for their major and just stick to what they know.

“Just because someone is not recruiting for your major does not mean that they are of no use to you… These people all have hiring influence and they all know dozens and dozens of others who hire people for a living.  Many of the recruiters are also Slippery Rock alumni, so that is an added benefit,” said Rindy.

Aside from whom students need to network with, they should also spend a certain amount of time acquainting themselves with the job fair.

“It is important to give an hour or more of time.  It is okay to come to a job fair for a few minutes if you are a first-year student who wants to see how a job fair works, but juniors and seniors need to think about taking an hour to an hour and a half,” said Rindy.

If students are concerned as to how to break up this time, he has an equation to use.

“A good rule of thumb is to ask questions 10 percent of the time, listen to the answer and take notes 70 percent of the time, and talk about yourself 20 percent of the time,” said Rindy.

Lastly, Rindy strongly advises to never forget to follow up with the recruiters you made a connection with.

“It is the one thing most forget to do.  Send them an email saying, ‘Nice to meet you,’ and thank them for coming to Slippery Rock,” said Rindy.

If you would like more information on job fairs or information related to Career Education and Development, check out their website and also the numerous information sheets and pamphlets near their office on the main floor of Bailey Library.

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