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Career fair returns to in-person setting

October 14, 2021

Career Services hosted their Career Fair in person this year. The Career Fair was a two-day event held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 14. 

Each day had a different set of employers attending, so students were encouraged to research who would be there ahead of time and attend both days if needed. Employers were looking for potential interns and full-time hires after graduation. On Wednesday, there were 81 employers, and 79 in attendance on Thursday. 

Students could prepare by updating and preparing their resume and picking out a professional outfit. Students could research the employers that would be in attendance on Handshake, then check out specific employers' websites to see what positions they were hiring for and gain a sense for what the company is like. 

Amber Ristow, the Employer Relations Coordinator for Career Services, has been coordinating this year's Career Fair. When asked what advice she would give to students attending the fair, she said, “Be confident, know what kind of skills you can offer and what you can bring to the table. Have a general idea of what positions you might be interested in or companies you might be interested in looking at, but also be open to learning about new companies and new opportunities.” 

Ristow also suggests having a “30-second elevator pitch” which will also come in handy for students when they walk up to an employer; a brief introduction, followed by what students are interested in and what they are hoping to gain from their conversation, will be helpful in getting the most out of meeting with employers. 

To be COVID compliant, the Career Fair only allowed up to two representatives to attend the event from each employer, and the maximum number of employers that could attend each day was capped at 83. Students used the Corq app to check in with an event pass to limit contact. To keep numbers down, the student preparation room was separated. Students could check in in the Trimbelle Room to leave their things and have name tags made. LinkedIn headshots were taken in the Wind River room. The use of two rooms for students before entering the Career Fair helped keep as much distance as possible between people. Masks were required for everyone attending, and hand sanitizer was on all of the tables. 

This year, Ristow says there is an even mix of companies that will be attending, “We do always tend to see a lot of agriculture companies, but most of the agriculture companies are not only looking for students in dairy science and agriculture science, they’re also looking for business majors and people that are going into marketing. A piece of advice that I would recommend to students: don’t take things at face value; just because it might be an agriculture company doesn’t mean they’re not looking for someone to do their social media marketing or things along those lines.” She also mentioned there were more employers this year than in the past looking for students in programs like sociology and psychology. 

The Career Fair is beneficial for students because it helps bring employers to them, and is also beneficial for those who are still unsure about what they want to study. Freshman and Sophomores who may not be looking for internships or job opportunities quite yet are still encouraged to attend to get a sense of what companies are hiring and to potentially make connections with employers that could come in handy down the road. 

Ristow also says the Career Fair is beneficial to UWRF because it is bringing the jobs to the students: “In the end, hopefully these students will have a higher chance of getting an internship or job after graduation, which will bring up our overall outcome rates, ensuring that our students are getting jobs and not leaving the University unemployed.” 

If employers were not able to attend the Career Fair, there is a virtual option for students to meet with employers. The Virtual Networking Experience will be hosted through Handshake from Tuesday, Oct. 19 through Thursday, Oct. 21, then again on Wednesday, Oct. 27 and Thursday, Oct. 28. Each day, one employer will have a set time that they will be available via video chat to meet and talk with students. Students can sign up ahead of time on Handshake during their time window for either a group session or one-on-one session.

More information about the Career Fair can be found on the UWRF website. Ristow suggests looking at Handshake to get even more information about the event.

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