“We’re doing things to prepare College of Management students for the workforce,” said Edward Conley, President of the College of Management Student Association (COMSA). The new student organization launched in April 2017.
Conley said their focus is to invite guest speakers and business representatives to campus. They work closely with College of Management professors to make this possible. Last spring, they brought a speaker from a Minnesota accounting firm to give students an overview of the exam for certified public accountants (CPAs).
On Sept. 28, COMSA held a special event at the Midway campus called “Facts and myths about getting your first job in business and finance.” The event featured free pizza for attendees and three guest speakers from Robert Half Management Resources.
The guest speakers were Jennifer Carlson, Joe Seltz, and 2015 Metro State graduate Andrea Zick. In 2017, Forbes magazine listed Robert Half as “America’s Best Recruiting Firm.” Founded in 1948, Robert Half assists companies with their staffing needs for office support, finance, accounting, marketing, legal services, and technology.
Jennifer Carlson, Vice President and Metro Market Manager for Robert Half, discussed the question “Are people leaving or staying?” to an audience of more than 30 students. Carlson spoke about today’s favorable hiring environment, and opportunities as Baby Boomers retire and new business regulations influence employees to hire more workers. She pointed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 estimate that the unemployment rate for college graduates is a low 2.4 percent.
But Carlson said it is still a competitive job market, and students must consider how their credentials meet employer needs. Carlson listed particular technical skills and interpersonal abilities that students need in the workforce. She said that many companies are very specific when filling open positions and require individuals to meet certain criteria. These organizations are willing to pay a considerable fee to obtain the best fit.
Recruiters can help job seekers match their qualifications and characteristics to employer demands, Carlson said. She said the best recruiters are brutally honest in giving feedback to candidates. They will examine a resume for the key selling points. Recruiters also coach candidates on how to make a positive first impression and standing out from other job applicants.
Carlson said job seekers should not be complacent with their current skill sets. She advised students to address their weaknesses by seeking opportunities for lifelong learning.
Dispelling a common job search myth, Carlson asked students to consider part-time or temporary job assignments. These positions often lead to a full-time employment opportunity.
Staffing manager Joe Seltz added that students should be intentional when sending resumes to prospective employees. Candidates should apply only to companies where a mutual interest is apparent. He said confusion arises when a job search is unfocused and candidates can’t remember which jobs they applied to when employers contact them.
The presentation concluded with a discussion about networking. Joel Wilson, COMSA Faculty Advisor and Professor of Accounting, asked the panelists what students should do if they are uncomfortable with networking.
Carlson urged students to network no matter their comfort level. Students must push themselves to go to events and make those face-to-face connections, she said. She recommends becoming a lifelong networker.
“We need more of this. Opportunities like this,” said Wilson, expressing his gratitude to the presenters. COMSA events are a step in the right direction to help students become prepared as they look for jobs, he said.
For more information about COMSA and their events, contact Edward Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org.