Job fairs, other career services worth your time

Anthony Miller, Opinion Editor

Mercyhurst University has a great deal of career services available to its students.

One of these services is the multiple career fairs that Mercyhurst University holds every year.

The experience of going to a career fair is very hard to describe.

It’s even more so for myself, because, being a junior, I couldn’t exactly submit anything while I was there.

I still have an entire year of schooling left, so it’s not like I could just apply for jobs.

Companies at career fairs, generally speaking, want people who can start working in a few months, not an entire year or so.

I went to build connections and get experience networking and talking to job recruiters, not to apply for any jobs.

The experience felt casual on the whole.

Still, there was a certain formality to the proceedings that you don’t find every day at Mercyhurst.

I made sure to dress well, and go through all the various steps you go through when talking to a job recruiter.

While it wasn’t exactly the most important thing I’ve done in my junior year, I think it was still a valuable experience that helped me see just how valuable of a service the career fair is for students.

At a job fair, students can converse and apply to jobs directly, without the middle man of technology or paper.

It gives students a quick and efficient way to apply to a great number of jobs at once, while allowing them to get a better handle of where they’d like to work after graduation.

Beyond that, I think that the fair had a friendly and cordial atmosphere.

You’d think it would be intimidating, talking to all the job recruiters at the fair, but it really wasn’t.

Everyone was friendly, and wanted to openly engage with the students that approached their booths.

Even if you’re not a senior looking for employment, I think you should consider attending the next one.

It’s a good learning experience on the whole.

You get to learn how to present yourself in that kind of atmosphere, and you better learn how to make a good first impression, both of which are vital.

While I do wish that there was a greater variety of companies available at the fair, I thought it was still a valuable experience.

But the career fair is only one part of a larger whole.

And that larger whole is the current status of career services here at Mercyhurst.

Career services has come a long way in the past few years.

In the long-forgotten past of four years ago, Mercyhurst University’s career services was a bit infamous.

From what I’ve been told by seniors, not nearly as many opportunities were available back then.

For instance, the career fairs were far more limited than they are now.

But everyone seems to agree that it has improved immensely over the past few years, and I would have to agree.

One thing I think Mercyhurst University has gotten much better at in recent times is career services.

Career services is all about helping students understand what they want to do after they graduate.

Over the past year or so, a multitude of options have been made available for me after I graduate.

Some of these paths include going to graduate school, going into the workforce, doing a year of service and many others.

A few years ago, from everything I have heard, it seemed as if not much attention was paid to guiding students into paths they may want to pursue after graduation.

Things like the more expansive career fairs show how things have improved.

I still think some things could be improved.

Many students have no idea of all the career services available to them. As a result, many of them end up stumbling a bit blindly into their life after graduation, not entirely knowing what they’re going to do.

I think that Mercyhurst could take additional steps towards correcting this.

Perhaps juniors and seniors could have some day equivalent to Advising Day, where they can discuss potential future options with their adviser or career services.

Or maybe services such as Handshake, a networking service promoted by Mercyhurst, could be better advertised.

If they did this, more students could get acquainted with such services, and better understand how they play into the job search nowadays.

Knowing how to use job networking sites like Handshake is vital for success in the digital job market.

Nowadays, the way in which many recruiters find you is through those sites.

Even just teaching students how to build a LinkedIn profile would be a huge step.

It wasn’t until I tried applying for internships last year that I started to learn about all the intricacies of building a portfolio and brand for yourself.

I think that Mercyhurst could benefit by teaching its students the ins and out of applying for jobs post graduation.

Or even just making students more aware of the options they have available to them after graduation.

Maybe it could be tied into the IMU experience, or maybe even the senior projects somehow.

The important thing is that it should be taught.

It’s an incredibly valuable and practical skill in this digital age we live in.

With all of that being said, I do think things are heading in the correct direction in regards to career services here at Mercyhurst University.

While there are still ways in which things could be improved, such as teaching students more about networking, things are much better now than they were before.

This is all especially if the horror stories I’ve heard from seniors are true.

I hope that Mercyhurst University can continue to improve its career services program going forward.

Trying to learn what you want to do after graduation is incredibly difficult.

It’s easy to get caught in paralysis and stall out.

The career services should be the antidote to this, and it’s good to know that they are greatly improving.