Tackling the Career Fair: Scaffolded Activities to Prepare Students for Recruitment
Location: Dewberry Hall
As graduation looms, many students begin to worry that they will not marketable. Encouraging preparation for and attending the career fair can be a unique tool to empower students towards their futures.
I encourage students to make an appointment for career services, to work on their resume, and start researching the job they hope to have. Many students feel deflated that a high number of careers in their field require a master's degree. While I also avidly encourage grad school, students whom are feeling the weight of 4+ years of school, debt, and other pressures, are often really discouraged at their job prospects. In my courses, I set out to do a few things: a) encourage and connect students with volunteer, community service, and potential internship options in their field, b) have them take a new look at their resume, highlighting unique skills and experiences that may not have previously related to their major, c) "practice" invaluable marketing, interview, professionalism, and presentation skills at the career fair, even if they are not actively looking for a job at this time.
Students should be able to convey and demonstrate what they are learning in a way that is marketable, exhibiting a growing expertise in their field. Through the development of a personal elevator speech, a polished resume, and guidelines on professional code, students can feel more "ready" for life after graduation. By "shopping" the job fair and engaging in conversations with the vendors, they gain a perspective on what the ideal candidate looks like and how they can spend the next 3, 6 or more months "molding" some of their experiences and courses to the job they hope to have in the future.
Faculty can use their own real-life experiences with first-time jobs and share the sometimes "bumpy" road to a "dream job." We can develop ways to help train and empower students whom we know will likely need a Masters in their field, but helping them use their current tools to gain more experience and exposure, in the meantime.
Copyright (c) 2019 Shannyn Snyder and George Mason Publishing
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