On Monday, Oct. 29, students from all four area colleges will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to a variety of business professionals. And a lucky few might even be interviewed, on the spot.
The 2012 Career Fair, hosted by Loras, is a booth-style gathering of business professionals and grad-school programs attempting to both entice students to register, and to scope out prospective employees. Jeff Roberts, Asst. Coordinator of Career Services and Academic Internships, says the event is not only important for Loras students, but the attending business as well.
“The key here is not so much about how many students show up, but it’s engagement. It’s students coming and checking things out and connecting with five, six, ten different people,” Roberts said. “If we have 100 motivated students from the schools, they can dominate an event like this, because everyone is connecting. And employers can realize that it’s a cool event, and how engaging the students are.
The event will be held in Marie Graber Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a time slot Roberts hopes will be convenient for students.
“This will be one of the Common Time events,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced. Students sometimes say, ‘I’m in class and I can’t do it.’ For us to go 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is great for us so we can have that spot open for the whole time.”
There are over 70 organizations already slated to be in attendance at the Career Fair, and that number is expected to grow in the weeks leading up to Oct. 29.
Organizations from near and afar will be there, with representatives from local businesses like McGraw-Hill, Hilles and Dales and Epic. Dozens of schools with graduation programs will have booths. For seniors, the event is an opportunity to meet with professionals. Faye Finnigan, internship coordinator, says the event is much more than meeting people in your field. She emphasized the art of resume-building and tuning as an important endeavor when searching for employment.
“The professionals at the event are there for much more than just networking,” she said. “As you look at resumes these days, you need to ask yourself, what stands out? What would make you an interesting interview subject? These (professionals) review resumes all the time. They’re a huge resource. What do you look for when someone steps into your office for an interview?
For the first time in the Career Fair’s history, students will have the opportunity to sit down for an interview. It’s a new feature that Roberts says will make a big difference.
“If (a business) sees someone they like, they’ll redirect the student to another room to meet with one of their professionals,” Roberts said. “This is really different than what has been done in the past. It’s going to be fascinating.”
Due to the prospect of possible interviews, Roberts and Finnegan both urged students attending to dress appropriately. For seniors looking for potential employers, business formal is a must. And for underclassmen beginning their own personal searches, business casual is a minimum.
Finnegan said first impressions are vital.
“Eye contact and a strong handshake are big,” she said. “If you don’t have those, an employer may or may not continue interviewing you.”
The event is sponsored by Loras, the University of Dubuque, Clarke University, and Northern Iowa Community College. For more information, contact either Jeff Roberts or Faye Finnegan via e-mail.