EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: THIS WAY!
You would think that every student who didn’t already have a job or graduate school acceptance would be crowding into the University Center’s ballroom during our three annual job fairs and, indeed, the participation is strong and has been improving over the past couple of years. Yet there is room for more!
An average of 50 employers come each semester to UMW’s spring and fall Career and Internship Fairs (October and March) and about 25 attend the Summer Job and Internship Fair (April). We get representation from a wide variety of fields including nonprofit, technology, government, business, and more.
Not only are these job fairs a good place to learn about actual jobs (full time and part time) and internships, but they are a fairly low-risk setting in which students can talk to a variety of employers and become more familiar with presenting themselves professionally. Many of the organizations send alumni representatives which is a great bonus for students who often feel more comfortable talking to a graduate of UMW.
Prior to the fair, the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) recommends that students read up on the registered employers. There is a link* off the CCPD website with information on the organizations that are planning to attend and this link provides some additional tips for preparing. We have coaches and peer advisers who can also meet with your student to discuss how to approach the job fair and strategize the best approach for them.
One question that students often have is, quite simply, what to wear. When they come to us with this concern we tell them that a suit is almost always the best choice. A student who plans ahead can shop carefully, look for sales, and visit thrift stores to find some truly amazing deals. If they cannot do this, but still want to keep within their budget, the UMW Bookstore has a “suitable attire” program that allows them to rent or purchase suits. If a student is seeking a more casual summer job they don’t need to wear a suit, however neatly pressed khakis and a nice blouse or collared shirt will make a good impression. T-shirts, shorts, flip flops, baseball caps and heels that are difficult to walk in are examples of attire that should be avoided.
If a student really wants to shine, they will not only research the organizations and plan out their outfit; they will also develop and practice their 30 second commercial. This is also something that the CCPD staff can help them with!
Finally, if you as a parent or guardian would like to have your organization represented at one of our fairs, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Rose Maddox, Employer Relations and Operations Manager at 540-654-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Mary Becelia, Career Center, Career Coach