Career Fair aims to help students land entry-level jobs

Sean Keister

Today’s Sacramento State Career Fair welcomes current and former students of all majors who will have the opportunity to meet with employers who have positions to fill in their companies.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the University Union Ballroom will host the fair and will have options for students looking for full-time jobs, internships, student assistant positions and volunteer work.

The fair will host 79 employers from corporations such as Apple, PG&E and Chevron, as well as recruiters from state agencies.

The fair typically has an attendance of 1,300 students and alumni, and reached 1,500 during the previous fair last fall.

Christine Parvin, events coordinator for the Career Center, said she is optimistic the fair will match last year’s high.

“It is so hard to get a job right now, that when you have an event like this it really does help to attend as far as the number of employers goes,” Parvin said.

She said one positive aspect about this Career Fair is that students do not have to look for a job based solely on their majors because companies are recruiting students with different types of majors; there is usually an employer for just about everyone.

“By coming to this fair students get a nice opportunity to get a face-to-face interaction with an employer,” Parvin said.

She said the face-to-face aspect gives employers an idea of prospective hires as far as their enthusiasm and personality goes.

“Anytime you can meet a potential employer in person that always elevates the probability that you might get an interview,” Parvin said.

Historically, the fair has had a high success rate with employer interest.

“Corporations appearing at the Career Fair meet students and then they take the resumes those they’re interested in,” Parvin said. “And a few companies actually come and interview the next day those students here on campus.”

Parvin said the companies are actively looking to fill those positions for interns, sales reps and manager trainees, so there is a high success rate for career-aspiring students.

As employees retire and others advance, new talent is sought out by companies looking to fill entry-level positions.

“It depends on the field, but what is nice about being entry level is organizations always need to recruit for entry level positions. So there is somewhat of an advantage for students,” Parvin said.

Parvin said a growing market right now is careers the environmental field.

“There is a real big push for the “green careers’ right now,” Parvin said. “Any company that is in involved in the clean and green initiative out there sees it as a big draw if somebody has experience in green certifications or knows how to combine those types of skills – employers are attracted to that.”

She said it is difficult to find companies to attend that have open positions and despite the improving economy, it is a challenge to fill the fair.

“In order to attend our fair, you have to have an open position that you are recruiting for. You can’t just come to advertise your company,” Parvin said.

Rozyln Smith from Pepsi said the company is looking for students who are able to express themselves well, have a GPA of 2.5 and take an active interest in campus activities.

Pepsi is seeking students to join its sales development program.

She said one advantage the students at Sac State have is that many of them are commuters who often already have experience in the job market since many are working their way through college.

“A definite pedigree comes from Sac State students compared to a student who hasn’t had to work throughout college,” Smith said.

Gary Lee from Agilent Technologies said it is his company’s first time at the job fair. Agilent is looking for students who are enthusiastic and have excellent communication skills.

His company is seeking chemists, software engineers as well as planners for full-time positions.

He said Agilent is doing well in a poor economy, and sees the company growing in the future.

“There is hope out there, and we’re looking to bring in fresh talent,” Lee said.

While the Career Fair is an opportunity for students to see what jobs are out there and meet potential employers, the Career Center is available on campus year-round to offer advice to students.

“One of the things that sometimes students and just general population overlook the most is networking,” Parvin said. “Networking is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door or your first position.”

The center has issued a flier ahead of the fair to prep students on how to present themselves when they arrive.

“We want to educate students when you go to a career fair to prepare for it like it’s an interview,” Parvin said.

The Career Center recommends students bring a resume with them that highlights their educational accomplishments, work experience or participation in extracurricular activities.

The center also stresses the importance of proper business attire when meeting with business professionals. Students should either dress in professional or business casual wear.

Parvin said despite the tough job market, students should not give up hope.

“This is historically one of the most difficult times for students to get a job out of school,” Parvin said. “Not that it’s super easy, but the good news is companies always need to fill entry-level positions &- and there are positions.”

Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]