Seahawk job seekers were on the prowl Wednesday. UNCW hosted an internship and job fair to help graduating students and alumni secure jobs in the local community.
There were half as many employers as there were at last year’s job fair, so making a good impression was key.
Veronica MacDougall is graduating from UNCW in December; she’s trying to secure a position as an elementary school teacher. “It’s pretty tricky, there’s not a lot of places hiring. I’d love to stay in New Hanover, but they have that freeze.”
Recruiter attendance at the fair was down fifty percent from last fall. Career services officials say companies either couldn’t afford to attend, aren’t hiring, or are choosing to recruit at larger universities.
MacDougall says she tries to stand out from the competition by talking about her internship experience and letting her personality shine through. She also tells recruiters a personal story in hopes of leaving a lasting impression.
Recruiters say little things we might forget are often what makes the biggest impression, like a strong handshake, eye contact, good posture, and most importantly being prepared.
Scott Adams is hiring for a number of positions at Victaulic. He’s impressed by students who have done their homework. “Any of the students can research us know what is our company does, know what positions we’re hiring for. To be able to come up to the booth and then sell yourself and not worry about learning what the company is, I think is very important.”
“Because of the economy it sometimes is very frustrating for students and their sometimes afraid to even make that first step but i think the idea is the students that are getting jobs are the ones who are really going out there and working at it,” said Thom Rakes, Career Center Director.
Recruiters say things are starting to look up and they’re beginning to hire again. Wake County schools for example has 35 openings, so the opportunities are out there; recruiters say students just need to walk up with self-confidence and sell themselves.