The smell of popcorn filled the Glenbrook Gymnasium as students wandered around the annual college job fair last Thursday. Booths were set up in four rows covering the entire length of the basketball court. As students walked slowly up and down the aisles, they held their free popcorn in one hand and various job applications and information pamphlets in the other.
Employers eagerly tired to get the attention of passersby, hoping to find interested candidates for their job positions, internships, or grad schools. Some used free pencils, pens and candy to entice students to stop at their booth.
When asked what she looks for in potential employees, Barbara Begin from Heritage Family Credit Union said, “confidence is key.”
“When students come up to my booth I want to see that they are confident in themselves and in their abilities,” she said.
Begin believes that gaining work experience while in college is incredibly important.
“You can have a masters degree in whatever, but if you don’t have any work experience, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get a job,” she said.
This belief is shared by many others. Anthony Garcia stood at a booth in search for interns to join him at Retail Edge. He believes that career fairs are important and beneficial for freshmen all the way to seniors.
“This is the first chance students have to get out there and meet employers. It’s kinda like their first interview,” said Garcia.
Senior Justin Derosier said he thinks underclassmen can benefit from career fairs just as much as upperclassmen.
“It can all seem a little overwhelming, but it’s good to just get yourself out there,” he said.
Athletic Training major Michaela Babineau thought the fair was very informative, but she wished there had been more jobs geared toward her major.
The representatives from W.B. Mason Office Supply Company had a few tips for students looking for jobs.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for students to come to events like this dressed professionally,” said Elissa Andrews enthusiastically. “Looking presentable is very, very crucial.”
Her co-worker and Castleton alum, Jarrod Pulsifer, agreed, adding “a tip I have for students looking for jobs is…. don’t just come up to the table, ask for the free gifts and then leave,” he said with a laugh.
These opportunities would not be possible without the Director of Career Development Renee Beaupre White, who is responsible for organizing and promoting the fair. As students lined up to register at her table, she said she was pleased with how many people had showed up.
“There has been a steady flow of students,” she said. “On- and off-campus students, alumni and community members. There has been a great variety!”
Beaupre White’s intern, Kristin Helm was also excited about the turn out.
“A lot of students have been coming by!” she said proudly. “Seniors seem to be most excited about getting their graduation tickets and everyone is very excited about the free popcorn,” laughed Helm.
Along with the job, internship, community engagement, and graduate school opportunities, Beaupre White provided a new service for students who attended the fair. As you first walked into the gymnasium, Student Life Area Coordinator Kevin Kareckas had a photo booth set up. Students could have photos taken of them to use on their LinkdIn profiles.
“Renee really believes that LinkdIn is becoming a very important resource for students. It helps students connect with potential employees,” said Kareckas. “First impressions exist online as well.”
Overall, everyone seemed to have the same opinion; career fairs are important and very beneficial.
“This is such a great opportunity to get yourself out there and see what employers are looking for,” said Katie Conn from Vermont Country Store. “I didn’t go to my college’s career fair and I really wish I had.”