Saddleback College Career Fair connects community with employers

Professionals share tips for job seekers at the campus Career Fair on April 11 (Holly Broxterman/Lariat)

The annual Career Fair returned to the Saddleback quad on April 11. More than 100 employers assembled informational booths for students seeking part-time or entry-level employment as well as internships and careers available with continuing education.

“Employers still want to come and connect with our students and they still want to hire our students here at Saddleback,” said Eric Hilden, career placement officer and coordinator of the event for the last 11 years.

The 2017 Career Fair yielded the largest Hilden had organized with 150 employers participating. This year still brought a sizeable turnout of roughly 105 organizations.

“I’ve seen employers having a seat with a candidate, a student, right behind their booth and doing interviews and saying, ‘This is exactly what I’m looking for, you’ll be hearing from us,’” said Hilden. “Good things happen at this event.”

Hilden’s top recommendation to students after developing a strong resume includes creating a LinkedIn profile, an increasingly prominent part of the job search culture. According to Hilden, this can also help highlight how job seekers applied their skills rather than merely listing them.

“Beyond that, on actual resumes the number one pitfall is always the email,” said Hilden. “No casual emails, I hear it consistently on panels I present on and that I’m listening to. Anything casual and it’s going in the trash.”

Several recruiters also shared their thoughts and tips for students currently seeking employment. Having a resume prepared remains crucial to finding a job, but remember to value quality over quantity distributed.

“I wouldn’t rush on a resume,” says Taylor Chase, staffing manager at Robert Half, a temp-to-hire placement company. “Because in our line of business, that’s going to be the biggest selling point when people are out there looking.”

Brittany Deanda, business owner of Shredz Gym, shared that experience might not necessarily be the most important trait when filling a position. Although experience is a plus, Deanda shared other positive attributes she appreciates which are less reliant on job history.

“Honestly, a lot is based on personality and work ethic,” said Deanda.

Other qualities Deanda seeks in a candidate include reliability and good communication skills. She also values sales ability even for positions that do not involve sales, explaining she sees it as an indicator of someone’s ability to develop rapport with others.

Employers seek a wide variety of characteristics and one “blanket” resume typically will not serve well. According to Chase, paying attention to the “buzz words” used within a company’s job listing when building your resume remains a clever way to make yourself stand out. When organizations are flooded with hundreds of applicants, sometimes “standing out” is the edge needed.

If you missed the event this year, visit Saddleback College’s website to view the organizations that participated.