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Small percent of job fair attendees receive interviews

Students who attended last week’s job fair but still haven’t heard from employers shouldn’t get discouraged just yet.
Of the 832 students who came to the fair, employers interviewed only 64 on campus.
However,  many employers take time to make their decisions on who to interview, Director of Employer Relations for the Smith Career Center Kelly Harris said. Only 14 employers conducted on-campus interviews – which is 18 percent of the 77 employers that were present.
However, the percent of students who got interviews is less than half that – at 7.6 percent.
“Employers will continue to hire through the spring and summer,” Harris said. “Students should not be discouraged if they don’t have something yet.”
The most important thing students need to keep in mind is employers don’t usually make decisions until several weeks after attending a job fair, she said.
“Students need to follow the directions they get from recruiters – 90 percent of employers require students to apply on their Web site,” she said. “Many recruiters cannot even contact students until they create a profile.”
Rick Smith, director for career development for the Smith Career Center, said accuracy is vital when applying for jobs, either online or in person at job fairs.
“Even online applications require research,” he said. “Don’t just apply because the job is out there. Students need to go beyond what employers expect.”
And while most students get advice on perfecting resumes, Smith said it is also important to pay very close attention to responses in online applications.
“It is vital that students are patient and very thorough and accurate when applying online,” he said. “Even one tiny mistake can be devastating.”
And although fewer students attended this year’s job fair than in the past, Harris said employers’ responses to students were much more positive.
“Our employers said they were so pleased with the quality of students at the fair,” she said. “Numbers may be down, but the quality was way up. Students were dressed professionally, they did their research and that impressed employers.”
Harris also said students need to dedicate a good amount of time to applying for jobs.
“Taking your time is so important,” she said. “These online profiles students create determine the next step. It’s also important to read the job descriptions very carefully. If the description says the applicant must be willing to relocate, but then a student checks that they aren’t willing to travel, their application isn’t going to be considered. This isn’t something that should take five minutes.”
Junior manufacturing engineering major Chad Miller attended the job fair and said employers seemed more optimistic about the job market.
“Before it seemed like people were just here to look for potential candidates for some time in the future, but now a lot more companies seemed to actually be hiring,” he said. “That makes me a little more optimistic for when I graduate and am seriously looking for a job.”
Smith said it is important for students to stay positive about their job searches, even if they experience setbacks along the way.
“Students should not get discouraged by the job market,” he said. “They should show flexibility in how their major can be used, their potential location and in their industry. Now is the time to redouble your efforts in your search.”
Being prepared for anything is also essential to students obtaining jobs they really want.
“As long as students have resumes ready, they can act as soon as opportunities become available,” Harris said. “I’ve had students say to me, ‘I found the perfect job, but the application is due tomorrow and I don’t have a resume ready.’ Those are the people who really miss out.”
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