The Best Fair Around!

By Chloe Gamber, Head Academic Writer

On February 16, McKendree held their Career Fair at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. You can find various employers that attended on the following page:  A direct quote from the page explains the importance of the Career Fair for students. “Students who aren’t sure what they want to pursue after graduation can also benefit because they can learn more about what companies seek in candidates,” says Jennifer Pickerell, Director of Career Services. “Additionally, students who are still exploring ideas can become more comfortable in speaking with employers before they start looking for an internship or full-time position.” 

The career fair gives many opportunities for networking along with gaining knowledge on how to present yourself to a company through media such as Handshake. Handshake, Indeed and many more platforms have allowed many students and young adults to find jobs they would have never known about otherwise.

Image provided by Jennifer Pickerell

Personally, I had been given many opportunities on these platforms along with help developing my resume. Recently I was given the opportunity to be a software developer co-op for Bayer, which I would have not known about if I was not notified on Indeed. Other opportunities along with possible connections with recruiters can come from these platforms. I had also gained a mentor through Indeed that has been an amazing experience. Not only will you gain access to connections, but you will also get greater insight into what companies are about. Any company or organization you follow on these platforms will post on various topics – this includes new advancements in the company itself and subjects involving the company and their values.

Developing yourself on these platforms is also very unique for every user. We all will follow a special career path and the personalization of your interest is a priority on these platforms. Showcasing your skills is another great feature on these platforms. It might be hard at first to display your skills and abilities, but with guidance from resources such as Career Services is a great way to start!

 Knowing how to take advantage of these opportunities is essential for students who want to thrive and take flight in developing their future career! No matter what year in school you are in, you can never stop gaining new experiences such as this one. Finding out new ways to develop your resume while presenting yourself to many employers at once can open new career paths that you did not expect! Even if you have a plan picked out for your culture career, you can never stop benefitting from exploring other opportunities. Communicating with different industries can also open your mind up to other ideas or a better understanding on what other careers entail.

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The Career Fair had a successful turnout of 53 employers! Prior to COVID-19, employer turnout is normally in the sixties. The career fair serves many purposes for everyone who attends. When speaking with Jennifer Pickerell, she emphasizes how the communication process for developing the fair occurred. Jennifer has been with Mckendree University’s Career Service for 23 years and has helped with various developments of the Career Fair. She has added details such as changing the name of the event from Career Day to Career Fair 15 years ago. 

Through the development of areas at the university the placement of the Career Fair has also transitioned; this process takes a lot of acceptance of change and decision making. Jennifer explains some of the processes that occur for each career fair: “We communicate with employers through the registration process, ask students to assist at the fair in registering students, helping employees carry items inside and creating information to help get the word out to students.” Groups of students from the Lyn Huxford Community Service group and sports teams were a few of the students who helped with this process. The Career Services office also hosts Career Labs to help students with career fair materials and appointments for the students. With all of these resources it is easy to get excited about wanting to showcase yourself and gain knowledge about your future career! 

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