By Keith Hautala
University of Kentucky students will have the opportunity to meet with more than 115 employers at the Spring 2012 Employer Showcase, sponsored by the UK James W. Stuckert Career Center.
The showcase will bring employers in both technical and non-technical professions to the Student Center Ballrooms from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Wednesday, Feb. 15.
The first day of the event will showcase employers in technical career fields such as engineering, computer science, construction, information systems/technology and scientific research.
The second day will host employers in non-technical fields such as communications, accounting, banking, consulting, health care, government, management, human services, retail and sales, and other fields without a scientific or technical focus.
Lenroy Jones, associate director and manager of corporate relations for the Stuckert Career Center, suggests students prepare by researching companies that will be attending the showcase.
"If a company is actually going to be hiring, they really don't want a candidate to come up and say, 'What are you looking for? What opportunities do you have?'" Jones said. "That says to the company that you haven't done any homework."
The Career Center has videos availble on the UK YouTube Channel that offer helpful tips on creating a resume, writing a cover letter and making the best impression in an interview.
More than 115 employers will participate in the showcase, including private companies of all sizes, government agencies and nonprofit groups. Among the registered employers are BMW Manufacturing, Cummins, Enterprise, Ernst & Young, First Investors, Frito-Lay, General Electric, Kraft, PNC, PriceWaterhouseCooper and Target.
Prior to the event, students should research job openings within companies and training programs for new employees, Jones said. During the showcase, students may ask about the work environment of the company and the major projects the company is currently undertaking. Asking intelligent questions such as these will demonstrate the applicant's interest, as well as an understanding of his or her needs in a career opportunity.
Jones suggests students prepare a 30-60 second introduction that states their name, graduation date and major. Students shouldn't be afraid to mention any honors or special achievements they have received, such as a high GPA. By having completed their research, students should know exactly what questions they would like to ask. As with everything done in preparation for the employer showcase, practice is a big key to one's success, Jones explained.
Students should print resumes on high-quality white or ivory paper. On their resumes, students should include an objective, any work or volunteer experience, internships, and any special honors they have received.
"Companies, all of them, don't expect students to have the practical related experience, so if you've had that experience, that’s an advantage for you," Jones said. "Have that reflected on your resume."
The purpose of a resume, Jones said, is to secure an interview, not a job offer. Therefore, students should adjust their resumes to one page to reflect quality instead of quantity.
Students should carry about 30 resumes in a nice portfolio with a nice pen and a pad of paper to take notes. Business attire is appropriate. Jones suggests dark colors such as black, charcoal, and grays. For women, a suit skirt, a white shirt, a skirt and blazer, or a conservative suit is best. For men, a suit, a button-down white shirt, tie, sports jacket, slacks, and shined shoes will make the best impression.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of other services at the Career Center any time before or after the showcase. Wildcat CareerLink, for example, is the Stuckert Career Center's online registration process that students can access to upload their resumes and browse employers' job listings.
Walk-in consultations are offered 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and staff are available to help students get ready for the employer showcase. “The Stuckert Center staff members have extended staffing hours and programs to assist students in their preparation," said Stuckert Career Center Director Francene Gilmer.
For more information on the Spring 2012 Employer Showcase and the other career-building services offered by the Stuckert Career Center, students can stop by or visit the center's webpage at www.uky.edu/careercenter.