Career Center director Bill Baldus was quick to point out that the event was not a job fair per se. “Sometimes job fairs make students nervous,” he said.
So Baldus and the Career Center developed a “Meet the Employers” event to let students meet recruiters from HR departments in a low-pressure environment.
The opportunity to “Meet the Employers” drew 42 students and 15 companies to the Student Center on the St. Paul campus May 31.
Since students were not interviewing for jobs, they got the opportunity to network and have less formal conversations with employers. These brief, informational interviews let students learn about each company’s employee benefits and job openings.
According to Marisa Kelly, administrative assistant for the Career Center, many employers are eager to recruit Metro State students and graduates. She said that many companies contact the Career Center throughout the school year about setting up a table on campus.
Instead of holding solo events, the Career Center sought to schedule multiple employers on a single day.
“You wouldn’t get the same interest as you would get by setting up a multicompany event,” said Kelly. She said this setup is “better for the employer and the student.”
Most companies at “Meet the Employers” were seeking service-oriented students interested in careers in home care, nursing, health care and social work. Kaposia, a nonprofit organization, was at the event to recruit for a career consultant position that helps people with disabilities find jobs.
At his table, Randy Bloom discussed opportunities available at Midwest Special Services. The nonprofit organization supports people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
“[It’s a] great time for students looking for work,” said Bloom, the organization’s business development executive. “Way more jobs than people to fill them.”
Bloom referred to recent data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on the strength of the state’s labor market. He said this news should be encouraging for people looking for their first job.
Baldus said connecting with employers is the key to finding a first job. Most companies do not advertise open positions. Instead, job seekers must discover them through a network.
“A job seeker has to think of creative ways to be in the right place at the right time,” Baldus said. Students who do not network “miss golden opportunities to be in the right place at the right time.”
Fifteen companies for ‘Meet the Employers’
Get prepped to impress prospective employers
Bill Baldus, Career Center director, says students can take simple steps to get ready for job fairs and interviews:
Learn about the organization.
Spiff up your resume and cover letter. Reviewing these documents early (and regularly) will help you relax when it is time to meet prospective employers.
Put your best foot forward. Come to the event in a positive mood and believe that only good things will come from it. A nice outfit helps your confidence and leaves the employer with a good impression of you.
Anthony Freeman, a 2014 marketing graduate of Metro State, represented his company at the event. He is a regional inside sales representative for Ryerson, a metal processor and distributor. He shared his passion for Ryerson’s products and its 175-year history.
“I am blessed to use the skills that I learned at school and use them in my job,” Freeman said.
Kelly Moeller, a 2017 accounting graduate of Metro State, also returned to campus. Moeller is a staff accountant with Mahoney Ulbrich Christiansen and Russ. Her firm is seeking accounting students for their 2019 internship programs.
Besides full-time employment opportunities, students also heard from employers about part-time jobs. Companies like College Nannies and Sitters, FedEx and UPS offered employment for students seeking work while going to school.
Danny Mulenda, a computer information technology major, appreciated the words of encouragement he received from the employers at the event. One of the representatives took his resume and offered to reach out to him if a position became available.
Juan Cervantes, an independent contractor for State Farm, was at the event seeking Metro State talent. He was hoping to recruit bilingual students who could speak either Spanish or Hmong.
“We love Metro,” Cervantes said. “It’s a great school involved in the community. Very grateful to have it as a partner.”