Bob Jones University’s Career Services will host a career fair Wednesday from after chapel until 3 p.m. in the Davis Room of the dining common. More than 50 recruiters will be there, with several more still signing on.
A significant number of law enforcement and criminal justice recruiters will be present, including the Greenville County Sheriff’s office; Greenville Police Department; North Carolina State Highway Patrol; South Carolina Department of Corrections; the S.C. Department of Public Safety; and the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon.
Marketing firms including North Star Marketing, Jackson Dawson Communications and G-Five will also have booths as will accounting firm Kuehne & Nagel, manufacturer BMW and BJU itself.
For students seeking part-time employment, a full-time job after graduation, or perhaps an internship, this is a great opportunity to meet with professionals in their field and network with their organizations.
Career Services hosts many events throughout the academic year, according to Erin Kimbro, the Career Services GA, but the career fair is just once a year, and brings in the largest variety of available positions.
Before the career fair, students should plan ahead and have companies in mind they plan to connect with at the event.
A new tool students have for keeping track of these companies is the guidebook app for events and conventions.
“We are rolling out an edition of the app [so] the students can download a list of all the different companies and see what type of people the company is looking to hire,” Kimbro said. “From that list you can add the companies to a to-do list of where to visit and who to talk to.”
The important thing about the career fair is to keep it in perspective as a network-building opportunity.
“Use it as a learning experience,” Kimbro said. “Networking is a bit difficult for a lot of us: being able to go up to someone we don’t know and starting a conversation. [It is] being able to represent yourself well, and succinctly communicate the value that you could offer to the organization. Making those connections presents a great opportunity for students to practice those skills.”
Before the fair starts, students should be prepared to present themselves in a professional manner.
“Bring a few copies of your resume [and] something to take notes with,” Kimbro said. “Beforehand, reviewing your resume and fine tuning a couple of things can be one of the best preparations for a networking opportunity like this.”
Respect recruiters’ time, and present your personal and professional strengths in an interesting, succinct elevator speech.
“You should be hitting those top three to five key words that describe who you are and [how you are unique]in the short window of time that you have with them,” Kimbro said.
“You don’t want to be only regurgitating your resume when you talk to someone about who you are and what you have accomplished.”
Have questions for the recruiters, and connect on more than a professional level. The core idea of the event is to make new connections with everyday people.
“It’s not a bad thing for it to be personal in some ways. Remember the person you are talking to is a person, and showing interest in who they are is really one of the best ways to be more interesting to them, showing that you are a good listener,” Kimbro said.
“Show them that in that situation, you are there to gain something, that you are not just in it for yourself, but that you are looking to serve other people.”
Finally, consider professional dress standards, and dress for a business-formal setting. First impressions at a career fair may make all the difference in the world.