Connections blossom at spring career fair

Photo and story by Kristen Wohlers

Potential employers connected with hundreds of job seekers at the second annual Spring Career Fair on Tuesday, April 19. Clackamas Community College hosted the all-industry fair in Randall Hall gym. It was open to both students and the public.

Sean Maloy, the operations manager at Mt. Hood Skibowl said, “I love working with Clackamas Community College. This is where we want to get the best and brightest.”

Despite the growing trend of online job searching, the career fair proved to be relevant and beneficial. Kara Leonard, CCC’s student success & career coordinator, said, “The most effective strategy in job searching is networking — connecting with people — and whether that’s connecting with people digitally or in person, a career fair gives an opportunity for that in-person connection.”

Mohammed Alqafshat, a CCC student who attended the fair, found that the career fair was a more efficient approach to job searching than using the Internet. He said, “If I go online, if I don’t understand a couple of things, then I have to send an email and go through all that. But in face to face, I can ask them what questions are on my mind. It’s easier for me.” He hopes to see more career fairs in the future.

Angela Fortin, the HR representative for Mt. Hood Skibowl, agreed that face to face contact with job seekers is essential. She views the career fair as an “opportunity to meet someone in person and get a feel for how they communicate and what motivates them.” Fortin continued, “It’s easier for me to get to know what motivates people when you get a chance to talk to them in person.”

There were more than 60 employers present, representing fields such as health care, financial, communication, transportation, construction, education and nonprofits. Companies were hiring for positions from entry level to expert. Leonard wanted to encourage job seekers to explore companies from all fields because even niche businesses may have multiple departments hiring for a variety of positions.

Krystal Davis and Cory Klink, program managers at Alternative Services, were at the fair hiring for direct support professionals, assistant managers and home managers. They suggested that job seekers not shy away from entry-level positions.

“I actually started as a direct support professional at this program 15 years ago,” said Klink.Davis added, “Most of our managers have started off as direct care staff.”

Overall, job seekers and employers can expect success as a result of the career fair. Maloy recalled, “I’ve found several managers. The assistant guest services manager was found right here at Clackamas Community College, and a lot of good front-line employees.”

Mt. Hood Skibowl will hold a job fair on May 7 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fortin suggested, “Skibowl’s jobs are so diverse from front line entry level, food and beverage, guest services, to more technical patrol positions.”

For those who missed the Spring Career Fair, the school holds two every year so look for another opportunity to connect with businesses this fall. There is the potential for additional industry specific fairs throughout the year as well.

While the career fair provided job seekers the opportunity for face to face contact with employers, still, Leonard suggested that students “take multiple approaches in their job search.”

So the Career Center is holding a one-hour workshop next week to help students with their online profiles. The workshop, “Cookies-Bytes of C.I.S.” will be held in the Community Center conference room (CC126) on Wednesday, April 27, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Students can expect to learn how to create a LinkedIn profile, organize an online portfolio, design a resume and cover letter, and control individual Google profiles.

Students are also encouraged to contact Career Services for opportunities and help in connecting with potential employers. Call 503-594-6001 or email careercenter@clackamas.edu.career-fair-as-Smart-Object-1