UW-Parkside, Carthage College, Gateway Technical College, and Herzing University are proud to host the Inaugural Collaborative Virtual Career Fair. This year’s installment will not only be the first time the four institutions have collaborated on the event but will also be UW-Parkside’s first-ever virtual Internship and career fair. The event will take place on Thursday, October 8th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the career platform Handshake.
Between 50-100 employers and approximately 400 students from all four colleges are expected to be in attendance. The fair is open to all currently enrolled students as well as recent alumni from the institutions and is not open to the general public. Employers will have the opportunity to connect with students and recent alumni via live streaming information sessions, one-on-one interviews, skills-matched candidate searches, and access to resumes.
Internships can be for-credit, not-for-credit, short or long-term, project-based, in-person, or virtual. Internship experiences enhance a student’s professional skill set and make them more competitive for entry-level employment following graduation. Mary Waid, UW-Parkside Internship and On-Campus Employment Specialist emphasizes the importance of internships and contends that they are mutually beneficial for both students and employers. Waid states, “Internships are an opportunity to bridge a student’s college career into their professional careers. Employers are encouraged to bring their internships to the Fair.”
Collaboration, virtual workspaces, and tech platforms are the keys to both preparing and hosting this year’s internship and career fair. Community partners that include Y-Link will be helping students prepare for virtual connections with area employers. Students, alumni, and employers can visit the Prepare for the Fair page for invaluable resources in preparation for the event, which includes a resume building guide, an elevator pitch guide, and a “getting hired remotely” guide.
Renee Young-Trego, Assistant Director of the Advising and Career Center, Young-Trego contends that faculty collaboration is paramount to a campus successfully hosting a career event. “Faculty members spend the most time with our students and are seen as industry experts – their support is invaluable and we are lucky to have a wonderful group of Ranger faculty helping us prepare our students for their careers,” she adds.
Student Employment Specialist at Gateway Technical College, Jason Pruitt, feels that the collaborative nature of this event creates a competitive environment which will both push the students to be at their best and provide employers with the best talent that the area has to offer. Pruitt says, “Collaborating with all four institutions provides an outstanding way for employers to engage with the top talent in our area as well as provide our students with a unique experience to compete for compelling opportunities during these challenging times.”
Even though this year’s career fair might be different, it is still important for students to treat each interaction like an in-person interview. Carolyn Serdar, Director of Employer Relations and Internships at Carthage College, says, “Although it may seem different to meet with a potential employee over a computer screen, the recruitment conversations will be the same.”
Linda Bevec, UW-Parkside’s Employer Relations Coordinator, adds that although unemployment has risen in recent months, many of the employer partners have indicated they are still hiring. Bevec continues that in these uncertain times, persistence and adaptability are very important in the job search process. Bevec emphasizes, “Students may need to shift gears and consider other jobs and companies, but jobs are out there and I think all four colleges are really encouraging their students and graduates to assess their skills, education and experiences and be open to a variety of opportunities.”