By CHRIS EDWARDS
While many students make their plans for social events such as the next big concert or the next big game, others prepare for the next big opportunity that could be waiting for them at the Kennesaw State University Career Fair.
The KSU Career Fair is taking place on October 14 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is free to students and alumni who desire to prepare themselves for their career after graduation. Many students attend the career fair unaware of how it is organized and how recruiters look for potential recruits like themselves. With the right preparations, the average student will not have to be concerned with either of the previous issues.
At the career fair, students have the opportunity to meet employers from over 100 great local companies including many big name employers such as the Atlanta Falcons and The Home Depot. The fair is set up in the convocation center, where employers prepare information tables side by side to meet with future recruits from KSU. The fair occurs four or five times yearly at KSU in which thousands of students connect with business professionals and develop great communication skills.
Ryan Whitfield is the assistant director of the Employer Relations Team for the Kennesaw State Career Fair. Whitfield is part of a group that coordinates which companies attend KSU’s Career Fair. Whitfield is one of many professionals who believe the face-to-face networking that is experienced at the fair is still as useful as social networking sites such as LinkedIn.
“Even though networking may be a bit old school to some of the millennials because they are so used to dealing with things on the phone or the computer, it is still the best route to go when it comes to who you know to get the job you want,” says Whitfield.
Whitfield says that networking is not the only benefit that students will experience while attending this event. He mentions that students have the opportunity to improve career-related skills.
“Something as simple as handshaking, they can learn there,” said Whitfield.
He explains that a proper handshake can tell much about a person.
“It can maybe say this person is someone who is about business,” he said.
Whitfield also mentions that students can improve on their “elevator speech” or 30-second speech in which you describe yourself to employers.
These skills are rather important to help prepare you to meet future employers after graduation, but many students attend the fair in hopes of a company hiring them shortly after. Many students do not know what preparations will benefit them while attending and what recruiters are looking for in potential students.
Dawn Pierce is the human resources recruiter for Mansfield Oil who has been a past and current employer that recruits at the KSU career fairs. Pierce and Mansfield Oil hired three students from KSU during last spring’s career fair on campus.
Pierce suggests that a student’s potential is seen in many ways during a career fair. For example, a company could be interested in hiring a student because he or she is professional or very attentive to detail. Pierce says that the most important part of attending a career fair is being prepared ahead of time.
Pierce says the best way to prepare is to find and research companies in attendance that you are interested in. Pierce says researching a company will prepare students by allowing them to be specific in the conversation with a recruiter.
“There is nothing more impressive than someone coming straight to you and saying ‘I wanted to meet you today, I researched your company and this is what I loved about it, here is what I am looking for,’” said Pierce. Pierce says the flattering gesture adds to your professionalism and will help recruiters remember you.
Pierce suggests there are three steps that students must take to benefit at the career fair. Preparing for the fair, presenting yourself well while attending, and following-up after the fair by contacting the recruiter.
All students and alumni can benefit from attending the fair whether you desire to be hired after the fair, desire to develop useful career skills, or just want to experience a career fair. If you are a Kennesaw student, you are encouraged to attend because it is never too early to start preparing for the future. Preparation is a key to succeeding at the career fair, so start preparing now!