Students, graduates, community members and employers packed Rasmussen College campuses nationwide Sept. 8-12 to participate in this fall’s career fair, one of the college’s semi-annual events.
The career fair is set up to help attendees learn how to better market themselves professionally, learn job seeking skills and introduce them to employers hiring in their fields of study.
Here are six ways the college helped those looking for jobs during the career fair:
1. Mock interviews prepared interviewees for the ‘real deal’
Both college faculty and employers provided mock interviews in a designated area. They were a great opportunity for students in career development classes to complete their informational interview assignment rather than going out into the community to find their own. Students can now check that off their list. Additionally, all attendees, be it a graduate or community member, were given solid advice and constructive criticism during the mock interview. They were also informed what they did well, what they still need to work on, and what employers are looking for when they ask specific questions.
“After the mock interviews, job seekers really walked away feeling more confident and ready for that future interview,” said Alecia Spagnoletti, an Eagan campus career services advisor.
In fact, anything’s possible at career fairs, and during one mock interview given by an employer, a job seeker was able to secure a job in their field.
2. Experts reviewed resumes and offered important feedback
“Objective statements are a thing of the past and we’re still seeing that a lot,” Spagnoletti said. Job-seekers learned they are now being encouraged to replace the objective statement at the beginning of a resume with a personal statement paragraph that highlights their skills and accomplishments. This will help employers notice them and help them stand out from other job hunters.
The resume experts were also handing out templates that people could bring home, look over and use to update their resume.
“They were taught to really highlight their transferrable skills, which we recommend since some people won’t have a lot of experience in their field yet once they’ve earned their degree,” Spagnoletti said. “Our experts taught them to tie their past work experience and transferrable skills into their new career path.”
Resume experts also corrected grammatical errors, reviewed how to make bullet points stronger and highlighted accomplishments. Job-seekers learned to be more specific and quantify duties and accomplishments in past positions instead of talking in general; they were taught to explain how something they did affected a company and/or company’s bottom line.
3. LinkedIn training helped job-seekers make the most of their profile
This particular training really focused on the creation of a LinkedIn profile and how to make the most of it. LinkedIn experts shared information job-seekers need to have on their profile to be marketable to employers, and ways to let recruiters and employers know they’re looking for work. Attendees learned they can post their resume, and give themselves a title with “expert” in it. There was also a webinar available showing how to navigate through LinkedIn.
“We explained it’s important to reach out to people you used to work with, friends, family and ask for recommendations … the more people you network with the more opportunities you will have to find a job,” Spagnoletti said.
In addition, a professional photographer was present to take professional head shots of job-seekers for their profile so they have a more professional, complete profile, which looks much better from an employer’s perspective.
4. Employers were on hand ready to speak to job-seekers
Job-seekers had a great opportunity to meet with an employer in their field. There were approximately 20-40 employers at each campus offering a career fair across the nation. Employers requested rooms to give on-site interviews and it was a perfect opportunity to get right in front of recruiters.
“Meeting employers is the perfect ‘in’ to getting the interview; it’s taking a step outside of applying online and getting your name, face and resume right in front of employers,” Spagnoletti said.
Some employers still suggest applying to jobs online after a career fair, but job-seekers are encouraged to take business cards and send a follow-up email to say they applied online and ask what their next step is or who they need to talk to.
5. An expert employer panel gave a plethora of job-hunting insider tips
Approximately halfway through the events, there was an opportunity for job-seekers to attend a panel discussion from expert employers. The panel members were local employers and several different formats of the panel discussion were available depending on the career fair’s location, from a panel to a roundtable to one expert speaker. The panel spoke on job searching, interviewing, professionalism and what employers are looking for in candidates.
“This gives the job hunters a chance? to hear directly from employers,” Spagnoletti said. “They shared common mistakes they see, and what they want to see from candidates across the board concerning resumes and interviewing.
6. Opportunities for networking were in every nook and cranny
Job-seekers were encouraged ahead of time to look at the organizations and companies that would be at the career fair so they would know who was hiring and how to approach conversations.
“Coming prepared allowed the job-seeker to express interest in a position they might’ve seen online and ask who the correct contact is in the organization is to speak with,” Spagnoletti said.
The career fair created the perfect networking opportunity for job hunters. They went up to a variety of employers, were handed business cards, asked the recruiter questions and had the opportunity to talk in length about the organization or a specific position. It also allowed the job-seeker to make a new possible connection on LinkedIn.
As you can see, there’s more to do at a career fair than meeting employers. Getting your resume reviewed or your LinkedIn profiled critiqued are things that will be extremely beneficial to you in your job search. If you’re interested in attending the next career fair, read up on tips and tricks to prepare you for the big event.