Career Fair gives real world insight

Hannah Fowl/The News Drew Kelley (right), senior from Thompson’s Station, Tenn., speaks with a potential employer at the Career Fair.
Hannah Fowl/The News Drew Kelley (right), senior from Thompson’s Station, Tenn., speaks with a potential employer at the Career Fair.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Drew Kelley (right), senior from Thompson’s Station, Tenn., speaks with a potential employer at the Career Fair.

Nearly 800 students attended the Career Fair Oct. 8, an event aimed toward bringing employers to Murray State students.

Students had the opportunity to hand out resumes and network with 115 potential employers.

Ross Meloan, director of Career Services, said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We’re very proud of the Career Fair,” Meloan said. “Our students come right out on top, and it’s a beautiful lab for us in Career Services.”

Katie Mantooth, counselor at Career Services, said networking is the main goal of the event.

Mantooth said the Career Fair is meant to get students and employers talking face-to-face, giving students the opportunity to set themselves apart in a digitized world.

“In a world where much of the job search process takes place digitally, this allows students to be a human and make a powerful first impression in person,” Mantooth said.

A good first impression is important at the Career Fair when students only get a few minutes with businesses before another potential applicant arrives at the booth. According to the Career Services tip sheet, students only have 30-60 seconds to make an impression.

The sheet calls those few seconds the “elevator speech.” Within that speech students should:

• Introduce themselves with a smile and eye contact.

• Offer a resume and a handshake.

• Explain what employment is sought.

• Quickly explain educational background and experience.

• Reiterate interest in the job and ask closing questions.

• Thank the employer.

The tip sheet gives advice on how to dress, how to prepare a resume and how to manage time during the Career Fair. It can be found on the Career Services website.

Despite the tips listed above, Mantooth said a common issue at the fair was unprepared students.

“There were still many (students) who were not ready and argued with us at the registration desk when we told them they couldn’t come in wearing jeans or shorts or sweatshirts,” Mantooth said.

Jarrius Salter, 2014 graduate of Murray State, came back this year as a recruiter for PepsiCo. Salter has a degree in occupational safety and health.

“I got linked up with PepsiCo last year and got a summer internship,” he said.

Salter said he felt the connection with Murray State made it more relaxing for interested students.

“My first year I found it intimidating,” Salter said. “19 year olds coming up to guys 30, 35 years old can be intimidating. It can be nice to have someone who knows, you can ask about life and not just experience.”

Patrick Smith, sophomore from Bellville, Ill., was on the hunt for an engineering internship and said he was not intimidated.

Smith made his resume before the event but didn’t have enough time for Career Services to look it over. Nonetheless, he felt confident.

“I like talking to people,” Smith said. “It’s nothing bad.”

Mantooth said that besides unprepared students, the only thing she wished to improve was the variety of companies in attendance and the majors they were interested in.

Many of the companies available were local, with a good portion covering health and safety and agriculture majors.

The names of the companies in attendance can be found on the Career Services website. Mantooth encouraged students who could not attend the fair to look up the list and contact the companies.

Story by Amanda GrauStaff writer