Job Pursuit Career Fair: A gateway to your dream job

What is job pursuit?

Job pursuit matches employers who want to fill job openings with students who are eager to find a job. It is intentional networking and could end with a potential interview on the same day you meet with an employer. The itinerary for the day is a morning full of networking and the afternoon is meant for one-on-one interviews with an employer. This is an opportunity that could open a door to your future career, that’s what it did for me.

Job Pursuit is a large job fair with over 50 different employers and over 250 students from various West Michigan schools that congregate at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West hotel lobby and conference rooms. A few schools that participate in the event include Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Hillsdale College, and  Hope College. The atmosphere of Job Pursuit is business professionals for both students and employers. There are approximately 5 different rooms and in each room is roughly 10 tables that various employers have set up. The tables have job opportunities, trinkets to pass out, and most importantly a representative from the company that is interested in hiring.

The first half of the day is networking and approaching various tables to speak with representatives. There are so many students attending that some of the time is spent waiting in a line which is perfect because you get to prepare what you want to say to the representative. Once the networking portion of the day is complete then everyone takes a lunch break. During the lunch break, the employers decide who they want to interview for the afternoon portion of the day. After you return from lunch you receive an envelope and inside is a sheet of paper that gives details about the interview schedule. If you were not asked to interview then the paper would indicate that you have no interviews on your schedule. If you are asked to interview with one or more companies then the itinerary with the company name and time of the interview will be outlined on your interview itinerary.

Interviews are roughly 30 minutes long and are very basic interviews getting to know a little bit about you and why you are interested in the company. Once the interview(s) is complete make sure to ask for a business card to follow up with the employer. Then the day at job pursuit is complete!

Why did you decide to go?

The fair is primarily meant for Juniors and Seniors searching for internships or full-time jobs. When I went I was a second-semester sophomore and I attended in order to practice interviewing, networking and my elevator pitch. I had no intention of getting a job or an internship at that time. My goal was to use the fair to learn about networking and interviewing and to gain some confidence by having some experience under my belt.

What is it like there?

There were a lot of students and a lot of employers networking. After I approached my first table I gained . When I was talking to the employer, I realized that they were there to talk to me! They wanted to know who I was and what kind of job I was interested in pursuing. I was talking and learning about the employer and the company as much as they were trying to learn about me.

That was one of my biggest takeaways:  that networking and interviewing is a 2-way street. You want to make sure you match with a company and a company wants to make sure that they match with you. That is the purpose of networking and interviewing.

Preparation?

Preparation was also crucial. There is a list of information about the employers on the website that I used to make my own list of the employers I was interested in meeting. I made a list of the top 10 I wanted to meet with and then went to their websites and found some information about the internships they were offering. I tried to find out a little more about the company that I could speak into when I met with the employer. I also brought 20 copies of my resume that I had in the pocket of the Hope College padfolio I brought with me. The padfolio is also important to purchase because it looks professional and it has a notebook to write notes, a pen holder, a place for resumes and a slot for business cards.

Personally, Job Pursuit was life-changing for me. While I was there I went to the Cintas table and spoke with the representative, Chad. I approached the table with a smile, shook his hand, introduced my self and presented my elevator pitch as I handed him my resume. When I was finished with my spiel he smiled back and said, “All of this is great! But, tell me more about you and what you want in a career?” After 20 seconds more of a brief conversation about what I wanted in my future, he gave me his business card and we parted ways.

When I got home from the fair I sent him a follow-up email thanking him for his time at the fair and emphasizing that I was impressed with Cintas and was interested in pursuing an internship. He then set up an informational interview with the General Manager of the Grand Rapids Cintas location. After that interview I had a phone interview, then two more following that. After a long interview process, I received a call from Cintas offering me an internship for the summer of 2017! I thoroughly enjoyed my summer spent at Cintas and I was so impressed with the company that I wanted to continue working during the school year. I have been working a few hours every week at Cintas and I am looking forward to spending the summer of 2018 there as well. And it all started because I walked up to a table at the Job Pursuit Fair.

The Job Pursuit fair will always hold a spot in my heart because it opened a huge door for me. About a month ago, Chad emailed me and asked if I would be willing to help him at the Cintas table at Job Pursuit Fair this year on February 16th. My sophomore self never could have imaged the impact one step of courage could bring for my future.

Challenge yourself, take a risk, and go to Job Pursuit! You never know what doors it could open for your future career.

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