By Jordan Glassock
UMF Career Services will be hosting the 2017 Career Fair on March 20 from 11:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m in the student center. The Educator’s Career Fair is being hosted on the same day from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m in the North Dining Hall. While the Career Fair takes place every year, the Educator’s Career Fair is being brought back after being absent for several years. The Career Services team expects there to be a large number of businesses attending this years fairs.
“In past years, we’ve had about 50 employers come to campus for this fair, and they have things like part time jobs, full time jobs, and summer jobs and they’re specifically looking to recruit UMF students and alumni,” said Career Counselor Cyndi McShane.
Students who are not graduating this May should not be discouraged from attending the fairs. “Any student is welcome to come to the fair,” said McShane, “In fact, if you think ‘well, I don’t need a job yet,’ or ‘I’m not graduating until a few years from now,’ it would be a good idea to go to the fair because what you can do with that is you can warm up to the idea of talking to employers.”
This is McShane’s first year being involved with the Career Fair, and planning for the fair begins months in advance. “I do a lot of work with talking to the employers, and as the fair approaches we’re getting into a lot of logistical work,” said McShane, “but it’s a small price to pay for what it gives UMF students.”
Career Counselor Stephen Davis had some advice for what steps students should take to prepare for the upcoming fairs.
“I would start by analyzing the list of employers that are attending,” said Davis, “then from there I would prioritize the ones that are most interesting to them, and research them.” While it is important for students to be thoroughly prepared to meet potential employers, “You can be yourself,” said Davis, “just be a prepared version of yourself.”
Davis continued, “The other thing I would recommend is that if there is someone there that you have a meaningful conversation with and you’re excited about the conversation, follow up with them afterwards. Send them a thank you note.” Davis also said that students should take their time at the fairs.
The Career Services staff said that one of the challenges they often face is communicating to students that the Career Fair is not only a place to meet potential employers, but it is also a learning environment for students who are not graduating in May but are looking to get some job hunting experience.
“Even if you look at that list and there’s nobody there that they want talk to right away or they already have a summer job, it’s a chance to go talk to people in these industries,” said Davis.
Businesses who are attending this year’s Career Fair and Educators Career Fair are eager to meet and connect with students as well.
“For the past 5 years, we’ve attended the UMF Career Fair to connect with the qualified candidates we need,” said Dawn Palmer of Backyard Farms via email. “This year, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary at Backyard Farms so we’re particularly excited to attend the Career Fair.”
Currently, there are 26 businesses and 14 schools registered to attend this year’s Career Fair and Educators Career Fair.