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Companies teach students valuable lessons at Career Fair

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The Career Fair gave students the opportunity to understand what companies look for in an employee and they were able to talk to several businesses personally March 7. 

CSU-Pueblo students explore their options at the Career Fair March 7. Photo by Marcus Hill.

Approximately 300 students attended the event in the OUC Ballroom and were able to talk to 53 representatives about jobs and careers.

Michelle Gjerde, director of the Career Center, talked about how the companies praised the students because of how they dressed and their behavior.

“A lot of the businesses were extremely impressed with the students and the way that they looked and also for how well-prepared they were. The students that came really stepped up to the plate and showed the employers their capabilities. The companies really wanted to come back,” Gjerde said.

Anyone who went to the Career Fair also had to wear business or business casual wear to enter.

“This year we implemented dress code. It’s required in the business world and students need to impress the people that they are trying to work for in the future,” Gjerde said.

It is unacceptable for students to wear everyday clothes to an important event like the Career Fair, Gjerde said. Business attire helps show that a person cares about their appearance, but that’s not all that an employer looks for. A person should also be able to show that they’re interested in the job in other ways as well, she said.

“Many of the reps look for communication skills, asking questions about the company, knowing what they (the student) want, introduce themselves to the employer. Being prepared for who you’re going to talk to is very important,” Gjerde said.

A representative at the fair confirmed Gjerde’s assessment of what was expected from the students.

“Presentation is very important. Some people knew what they wanted and some also wanted to know the best and quickest way to be a part of the organization. We liked the people that seemed positive about what they wanted to do,” said Amanda Donnell, civilian intern at the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

No students were hired during the fair but the event has helped several CSU-Pueblo students land jobs after they’ve earned their degrees. Some helped at the event.

“We actually had about five or six former students at the fair representing different companies. It’s was a good feeling to know that what we did helped them land jobs,” Gjerde said.

Alumna Melissa McIntosh graduated in 2010 with a degree in Business. She is currently the assistant manager at Sherwin-Williams.

“I actually got hired to my current job because of the Career Fair last year. It’s great because I love my job and I’m getting paid well right out of college,” McIntosh said.

She also talked about how Sherwin-Williams had programs that help students get involved in their business.

“We have an internship program for students in the summer. It’s paid and students get to work with other interns and toward the end of the program, they get to go to Dallas and give a presentation on what we do,” McIntosh said.

It was important for students, especially those who will be graduating soon, to have an event like the Career Fair to obtain confidence and know that it is very possible to get a good job out of college, Gjerde said.

“Jobs are very competitive. This type of event helps students get experience and it helps them have a better chance of getting a job outside of college,” she said.

Some students got the opportunity to do a follow-up interview after the event. Companies still expect students to do their part in talking to the company.

“After a potential employee is called, they can come fill out an application. We look for the same positive attitude that we saw when we talked to them at the fair,” Donnell said.

Companies also looked for other signs to show that a student was truly interested in the company during follow-ups.

“Sending the company that you talked to a thank you email is always nice and it helps show that you truly appreciated their time. You want to make them want to hire you,” Gjerde said.