Real-world preparation at Career Fair

Many college students worry about life after school and what kind of job they will eventually have. Most of the time, students aren’t even sure of what direction they want to head in as far as careers go because they don’t know what’s out there.

Further, students were able to explore their options a little more at Wednesday’s Career Fair held in the Student Center Ballroom. With over 100  employers in attendance, from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to Mary’s Pizza Shack, students were provided with a wide variety of industries to consider.

Students were encouraged to “dress to impress” and come with their résumés on hand. This event gave students the chance to look the part, network and make connections with possible future employers.

Events like these are a great first step for students to become more familiar with the professional workforce.

“This Career Fair is so valuable and provides a wonderful opportunity for students to engage with prospective employers and build their skills,” said Career Services Adviser  Ann Mansfield. “Making connections at this Fair could be significant in developing relationships with companies that not only graduating students are interested in but also students who are not graduating.”

Upon arriving to the event, it was evident that every student took this opportunity to meet with potential employers seriously because everyone was dressed as if they were going to interviews. 

Students were handed a list of employers they would see as well as a helpful list of conversation starters to help them feel at ease when talking to potential employers. Passing by each booth, talk of what each company offered its employees was heard. Students would then respond with what they would bring to each company and what sets them apart from other applicants.

 The general consensus was positive: Sonoma State University students and employers were thrilled to participate in the event. 

“To be able to have that face-to-face interaction with students who are just fresh coming out of a program or continuing their education into their junior or senior year of college is great,” said Kanani Arakaki, Recruiting and Credentialing Specialist at the Petaluma Health Center. “It’s just very refreshing to get to put a face behind a résumé immediately rather than having to go through the phone call process or the screening process.”

Students were excited and eager to get the opportunity to showcase themselves and make connections with employers.

“As students, we work really hard putting in hours of studying and trying to be the best at what we do,” said junior Kristen Torgerson. “To be able to show people who could potentially hire us that we want to work for them and that we’re an asset to their company is really important.”

In addition, it was clear that a lot of work went into planning the event. From contacting companies to take part in the event, to people helping work the event and make everything run smoothly. 

“I  began our recruiting efforts in August and [recruited] until the second week in February. It is a huge amount of work,” said Mansfield. 

This hard work paid off and showed in the attendance numbers: more than 614 students were present, along with 34 alumni and 16 staff and faculty members.

From attending the event, it was obvious both employers and students took a lot away from it, however, there was room for improvement. 

“Although we had an excellent turnout, it only represents 7 percent of our campus, I can’t help but feel many students missed a great opportunity by not attending,” said Mansfield.