Over 85 organizations pursued job seekers at Saddleback College’s 2016 Career Fair held by the Career Placement Center on Wednesday in the quad. Different types of jobs set up booths with representatives to inform potential applicants about their companies and the jobs they were offering.
“This event in particular there is every thing from retail positions to public service agencies, like ourselves,” said State Park Peace Officer Scott Kibbey. “Police departments, health care, child development, there is the whole spectrum of different career opportunities.”
At the booths, applicants learned more about the industries they were interested in and found out what companies were looking for in prospective employees. Those actually looking to apply for positions were advised to dress nicely and have their resumes prepared along with a short pitch.
“I really feel like it gives us the opportunities to expand our knowledge on what is out there for us, because life is hard and as students we really have to figure it out on our own,” said Arshia Saber, 21, a finance/marketing major. “So when people come out to support us we really have a way to specifically figure out what that company is offering.”
The career fair’s main intention is to connect students to jobs, according to Saddleback Career Placement Officer Eric Hilden, but it also serves as a means of networking for students as well.
“[Students] have the opportunity to build a network of contacts that, if fostered, can help them in the coming years of their professional development,” Hilden said. “Its not all about what jobs these companies have, but it’s the people that students can connect to that may help them along in their path.”
Employers look for students to demonstrate certain skills while applying for jobs at the career fair. Applicants have a unique opportunity to meet with companies that are looking to hire and available for interview right away.
According to a survey of companies in attendance by the Career Placement Center, Saddleback students struggled at making first impressions.
“Only 16 percent of respondents strongly agreed that students greeted employers appropriately,” Hilden said. “Students need to practice their eye contact, handshake and confidence asking employers about openings they have.”
Organizations also were not impressed with the way students sold themselves.
“Only 11 percent of responding employers strongly agreed that students elevator pitch was effective,” Hilden said.
Students who prepared resumes for the event were successful. Two thirds of responding employers rated students’ resumes as either very good or outstanding.
“I encourage students to check Gaucho Jobs, the official online employment system for Saddleback College,” Hilden said. “Gaucho Jobs is a great resource with hundreds of job postings from local employers, a resume writing tool, a career exploration tool and other valuable tools including salary research and employer profiles. Its a great place to start.”
More information about the 2016 career fair including contacts of the companies in attendance and other job placement resources are available on Saddleback’s website and in the Career Placement Center.