Looking for an internship or a job can be one of the most difficult parts of college, but Simpson College Career Services is trying to make it easier for students.
Three times a year, Simpson hosts career fairs: the Business and Communications career fair, the Human Services career fair and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics career fair.
Internship coordinator Bobbi Meyer believes that career fairs give students a good opportunity to practice skills they need to have when looking for a job or internship.
“There are so many skills built into the job search process that students don’t even realize. It’s not just having a great resume. You have to have the skill of being able to introduce yourself, make small talk with employers, ask questions and show your research. Those are all things people need to practice,” Meyer explained.
Last year’s Business and Communications career fair had only 41 students. This year’s attendance skyrocketed to 120 students even with the event held on the Wednesday of fall break. Meyer said part of the reason it was held that day was because there were very few open days which didn’t have a forum event or some other sort of fair going on.
“We picked a Wednesday where there were no forum events and midterms are hopefully over at this point. Our spin was that it’s a dedicated time; tests have wrapped up, papers are wrapped up, it’s the last thing you’ll do before you go on break so they’ll really be able to focus on it,” Meyer said.
Junior Victoria Halloran attended the career fair because she felt it would be an effective way to meet possible future employers.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to make face-to-face connections with businesses from the Des Moines area and to find out what internships were available,” Halloran said.
According to Meyer, Halloran’s perception of the event and how it worked was accurate. Meyer said that the reason career fairs are so helpful for students is because they are able to meet with people in person rather than just being another resume on someone’s desk.
Of the students who attended the fair and filled out the survey, 90 percent felt they were prepared to speak with employers, and over half of the students worked with career services before the fair to prepare.
In addition to the increase in numbers, the career fair also gained a larger number of employers. This year had 47 businesses compared to last year’s 35 businesses.
Based on surveys given out to employers, businesses were impressed with how prepared students were for the fair. This was one of the most important parts Meyer stressed.
Rudolf Insurance account executive Eric Scheuchl pointed out that it’s not just about what is on a resume. It’s about the person and how they are able to cultivate a relationship and keep a positive attitude.
“We’re looking for a positive attitude and personal attributes. It’s always nice to have skills and experience, but we look for people that can cultivate relationships,” Scheuchl said.
As a whole, the career fair had a much more positive turnout this year than last year. Meyer hopes to keep the positive trend growing and that students are able to gain success and experience from these opportunities.