The job fair is a yearly fall event where students can walk through a maze of booths for various job offerings and opportunities. Following a virtual fair held via Handshake on Sept. 14, the in-person fair that occurred on Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Renaissance Coliseum gave students and employers in fields ranging from STEM to agriculture an opportunity to talk face-to-face.
When students walked into the Coliseum, check-in was quick and easy. After dropping off their backpacks with student volunteers, they checked in with staff, received a name tag and were then able to step into the job fair after all of their preparation.
“Preparing for the fair this time was a lot of, ‘Does my resume look official? How can I make it look better? How can I update it?’” Gabrielle McMillan, a junior industrial engineering major, said. “And then let’s practice an elevator pitch, interviewing, telling a lot about myself while not stuttering too much.”
Preparation is always key for students to keep in mind while attending any job fair.
“Typically, we will do a phone interview first, and then after that, they will come into the office and meet with management and employees that they will work closely with,” Lauren Downing, project manager for Arc Design Resources, said. “Then we have a CCAT assessment, also.”
The CCAT refers to the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test, a pre-employment test given to job candidates to measure their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.
While an interview is normally filled with pressing questions about work ethic, it also comes with the employers looking to see what kind of employee the person that they are interviewing will be.
“We look for someone who has drive and dedication — someone who likes to have fun but can also be responsible,” David Gray of the Peoria Park District said.
On the other hand, students also want to keep the idea of what kind of job they are looking for in the back of their mind. This time around, the job fair mostly offered off-campus jobs, so students had to figure out if their schedule worked with whatever job they were applying for and if they truly wanted it.
Marianela Figueroa, freshman undecided engineering major, shared a specific vision for an ideal job.
“For me personally, a community job, something where I could feel like a connection/family, where I could interact with people and get involved and get other people involved,” Figueroa said.
The in-person fair was one of multiple job fairs that current students and alumni can attend and try to find a part- or full-time job or an internship with the company of their choosing.