By Jenelle Franklin
The lines were long, the attitudes positive and the smiles were abundant at last Wednesday’s Career Fair.
Students attending the career fairs held twice per year on Washtenaw Community College’s campus can expect to find employers looking to hire and tools to help them with their career goals.
“We have a lot of companies that we regularly partner with and so this is the best way for us to connect our students with those companies. The businesses know we have these twice a year. We fill up our registration for companies within 2 weeks. Today we have over 90 employers here who are looking to hire,” Cheryl Harvey, assistant director of Career Services said of the event held in the ML atrium on March 15.
The career fair’s atmosphere was alive with students lining up to speak with employers, directly negotiating their possibilities with the businesses lining the room.
“We strictly let the companies work directly with the students,” Harvey said. This is to facilitate all of the differences employees offer, from experience to education and special skills she mentioned. “We let the students and employers negotiate just like anybody else would while looking for a job outside of here.”
Career fairs have been around over 20 years, on average WCC would have about 200 students come to find jobs. “But today, from the looks of things I think we are going to exceed our typical goal,” Harvey said. The lines for pre-registered and walk-in students were equally long and stretched to the main doors of the building, before the 5 p.m. start time.
Two full circles of opportunity awaited students after they endured the wait and anticipation in line. Those students who had business attire to wear came dressed as young professionals, looking to start or advance their careers.
A nice suit, or professional appearance was a recommendation for attendees. This can help create an image a student would like future employers to see when looking at them as their next team member. Services are available for those who need assistance in getting ready for their career.
“We are able to showcase our community partners that we work with regularly,” Harvey said.
One of the community partners WCC works with is Dress for Success, an international, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is helping people prepare for the professional world.
The number on thing that Dress for Success can do for a student at WCC starts prior to the interview day.
“Building their brand and their image,” GPN Coordinator, Karen Wagnon said. “You have about 15 seconds, for someone to see you and already develop an opinion.”
At Dress for Success they help get the look together for the interview because Wagnon believes, “Once you have the look done, you gain the confidence and you are free to go get that job.”
The organization located in St. Joesph Mercy Hospital Towsley Health Building is open four days per week, walk-in and appointments are accepted.
Besides a new suit and confidence, Dress for Success offers opportunities to gain experience and build a stronger resume.
“I have had some of my girls finish school and realize they don’t have the experience that is requested for the job they want. We get them in the office and started on an internship to help them,” Wagnon said.
“Two times a year we are able to get all our people together to help our students. Getting the
students here and getting the community here, so the community feels the campus is theirs also. Harvey said. “This is a chance for the community to come into the campus and really benefit from it.”