• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Even in bad economic times, Career Fair makes connections

April 3rd, 2010 Posted in Business

By Chelsey Gensel

The economy may be ailing, but that doesn’t mean employers aren’t still looking for new prospects at USU.

More than 100 companies came to USU’s recent Career Fair—the 21st such event, said assistant Career Services director Randy Jensen.

Many of the employers are veterans of the annual career fair, and come every year regardless of the state of the economy because of the networking opportunities between employers and potential employees.

“One of the nice things about the career fair is it really gives you a face-to-face opportunity,” Jensen said.

While many students and community members attend in search of a career or long-term job opportunity, the career fair can also be a good venue for those who are just curious, and aren’t necessarily seeking a career yet, and Jensen said employers understand that difference.

Zions Bank, for example, acknowledges that difference with the slogan, “Come for a job, stay for a career.”

Jensen said the career fair is a valuable resource because so much happens online now that job-seekers don’t necessarily have a chance to network or talk with a potential employer until they are granted an interview.

Many students use contacts made during the fair to connect with an employer a few years down the road.

“It’s important not to discount any kind of relationship,” Jensen said. “It may pay off later on even if you aren’t a senior.”

Newlyweds Scott and Missy Drechsler attended the career fair to look for summer work, even though they aren’t graduating this year.

Scott said he came to learn what employers are looking for so he can make the best use of his education.

Employers range from local companies to national corporations, including regular campus recruiters like the Disney College Program and the military, as well as companies like Verizon, Buckle, Kraft foods and government agencies like the FBI and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. There are also booths aimed at helping job-seekers with their search, application and interview process, such as the Department of Workforce Services.

Denise Iverson, at the Utah Department of Workforce Services booth, said students are sometimes disappointed that company representatives may not be hiring, but she thinks they welcome the assistance when they have questions about the process. The UDWS Web site, at jobs.utah.gov, helps link employers to potential hires.

“We’re here to benefit job seekers,” she said.

Most of the questions Iverson gets are about internships and the different ways the Web site and local office can help them. She said there is a form to help people find out what they need to make to pay off their bills and expenses, to find childcare, and to see what careers might fit their interests and personalities. She also said her office offers some internships, and many of their interns have come from the USU Career Fair.

Curtis Collins, a USU student and Disney College Program campus representative, said Disney has attended USU’s Career Fair for several years but this was the first time he’s done it on his own without a corporate representative from Florida.

He said Disney attends the career fair and makes classroom presentations because it draws in a bigger pool of students.

“At the Career Fair, they’re coming to us instead of us going out and finding them,” he said.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Goodner, who directs Navy recruiting in Utah, said the career fair creates more interest than other methods.

“It’s a guaranteed audience,” he said. “Not everyone is necessarily interested, but if someone walks up you know they at least have questions.”

Goodner was handing out Navy-logo squeeze-balls, like many booths that offer prizes, goody-bags or candy to passersby.

Jensen said that although employers realize up front that some students just walk around at the career fair to collect the freebies, they also know that many are seriously looking for a job or an internship.

“It’s a wide range of both students and of types of employers,” Jensen said.

He said he thinks some give handouts partially just because it’s fun for the students, but it may also be to get out some name recognition for their company or organization.

“Maybe it’s so you remember that name in the future, if you keep what they give you,” he said. “It leaves you with some kind of impression.”


Tags: ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.