Rethinking job fairs

Career services are restructuring job fairs at GBC to enhance student experience

George Brown College has always been focused on preparing students for the careers ahead of them. In doing so, job fairs slated for this fall are expected to take on a much different look.

Similar initiatives have seen challenges in recent years, since the emphasis has been merely on ensuring numerous representatives participate in the fair. However, Dan Kennedy, manager, career services, said that this year they are looking to change that, as “most employers now are looking for quality over quantity.”

Now, job fairs will include representatives more capable of answering students’ questions. This could mean a big shift in what resources are available to students.

When you’re in the trades industry, for example, speaking with a project coordinator rather than human resources personnel can make a big difference.

Career services at GBC aids students in developing networking skills and methods of marketing themselves to the workforce. Kennedy says that they will be making modifications in the way they assist students and alumni this fall.

They will be partnering with Peerconnect to “provide more of a peer-to-peer mentoring and coaching” which will offer a service to students that “moves away from the transactional to more of the relational,” Kennedy explained. This partnership seeks to cater to the needs of students more effectively than before.

Jacqueline Macchione, Student Success Initiatives Coordinator at the college, explained, “Career peer coaches spend a full day with the career advisory team, going through how to look at a resume checklist. They can help students with getting started, so when they run into the bigger challenges they can meet with the career advisor.”

Preparing students for job fairs, networking, and self-marketing are vital. This way, when a student meets a potential employer the pressure eases up a bit. With peers to practice with, students have the opportunity to go into an interview with more confidence.

Of course, career advisors cannot do all the work. Kennedy explains that the job fairs are also offering students the opportunity to meet with “employers that can come in and articulate exactly what the company does and what they’re looking for, to a more captive audience.” This should be more possible, now that “instead of having 20 employers in the room, we’ll have two or three.”

However, this makes it even more essential for the student to come prepared. As business student Hamza Arsiwala puts it, “it’s up to you to ask the right questions. Which ones are you going to ask to get the proper answer? You don’t get 20 of them, because everyone needs a chance, so you should be able to ask one good question and get most of your answers.”

Evidently, students are receiving an abundance of support through services offered at GBC. Now it is up to them to take full advantage of it. Career services are available at all campuses.

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Rethinking job fairs