Attending a job fair can be nerve-racking. Whether you’re just starting your college journey or you’re close to graduation, UNC Greensboro’s Career and Professional development (CPD) helps you map out the career path best suited for you.
This fall semester UNCG CPD is hosting several career-related events, including a Part-time Job Fair on Thursday, August 31. Here’s answers to a few questions that Spartans might have as they get ready to meet prospective employers.
Before the Job Fair
You don’t need a decided major to attend an event by UNCG CPD. Career and Professional Development offer services and assessments to help you figure out which path you want to be on. One of the services offered by CPD is career coaching, in which Spartans can talk with Staff members and discuss job opportunities and majors that fit their scope of interest. Additionally, CPD offers two assessments: the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Assessment.
“The Strong Interest Inventory is great for reviewing different job responsibilities and reflecting on your interests,” says CPD Assistant Director Justin Golding. “It takes your answers and compares you with similar personalities who are already gainfully employed. Every student at UNC Greensboro knows themselves best; we are providing options that could potentially bring passion and purpose.
“The Myers Briggs Assessment looks at how students draw energy from the world around them, how they take in information, how they make decisions, and how they interact with others. Many companies have invested heavily in the Myers Briggs because they want to build strong teams that use each person’s unique strengths.”
UNCG students can visit handshake.uncg.edu to sign up for an appointment.
This is the case for many first year students at UNCG. If you’re just beginning your professional career, highlight your volunteer work, leadership opportunities, certificates, or international experiences such as study abroad.
“If a student is struggling with creating a resume, I would encourage them to check the list of events on Handshake and RSVP for our Rawkin’ Resume Workshop (August 29th, 4:30 pm). I would also encourage students to upload their resume to vmock.uncg.edu. This digital platform allows students to receive fantastic feedback on their resume within 30 seconds,” says Golding.
Students can also view on-campus opportunities on Handshake. Many of these are open to all Spartans regardless of Federal Work Study (FWS) status. CPD hosts Demos and Donuts Events to help students with navigating the job-related technology.
If you’re still looking for work that will look good on your resume, UNCG also connects students with leadership opportunities through the Office of Civic & Leadership Engagement.
CPD offers two excellent services for preparing for an upcoming interview. The first is called Big interview. This online platform allows students to rehearse and prepare for any type of interview remotely.
“Big Interview allows students to record themselves answering Behavioral Style Questions, Situational Questions, and Admissions Questions while receiving helpful feedback regarding body language, eye contact, and rate of speech when engaging employers virtually. There are over 6,000 interview questions on Big Interview that go across multiple industries,” Golding says.
If students prefer to practice in-person, they may schedule a “Mock Interview” with any of CPD’s Career Coaches and Graduate Assistants. They’ll get comprehensive feedback on showcasing confidence, body language, conversation engagement, and questions they ought to ask an employer.
“This is a low risk, safe environment where students can best prepare for upcoming interviews.”
In order to find your way to the best company fit for you, CPD encourages you to research and ask questions about the company culture. “Every company has a different culture,” says Golding. “Some companies require professional business attire to be worn every day while other companies have a more relaxed culture. Many companies are having conversations concerning what professionalism looks like in their workplace and how they can create an inclusive environment for new hires. Many have created affinity groups to help new employees navigate the work culture. In the past year, we’ve seen companies like Cone Health shine a spotlight on their employees with tattoos and even host a podcast where employees can talk about the history of their ink.“
During the Job Fair
Researching the companies that will be present at the Job Fair will go a long way toward finding where you need to go on the big day. UNCG lists the participating companies in advance so that students have ample time to review what positions they’re currently hiring for.
UNCG also wants to take into account the comfort of our students. “Last year was the first time we had a sensory needs room, and it was a huge hit,” says Golding. “This wonderful idea from CPD Assistant Director Kristina Feduik allowed students the opportunity to get away from the crowd, regain their composure, and take a break when needed. We want every student to have the best opportunity of success at the university.”
Employers’ eyes light up when students have researched their company before hand and are asking about initiatives that were posted on LinkedIn, Handshake, or other professional websites. When recruiters engage with students at Career Fairs, such as UNCG’s Fall Career Fair on September 27, they want students who can confidentially talk about their strengths as well as their interest in the company. Passion and a sense of purpose go a long way.
We have a wide variety of companies from the healthcare industry, government agencies, corporate offices, non-profit organizations, and other emerging industries. We also have great employers who are our Spartan Partners: Enterprise, FedEx, Curriculum Associates, PepsiCo, Preferred Childcare, and Novant Health. They will all tell you that they look for students who know how to take initiative, who are energetic and passionate about their work, and who are ready to contribute to the company on Day One.
Before attending the Career Fair, read up on any new projects that company is involved with. Review the company’s history, their company values, and their commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
When answering an employer’s questions, it’s important to come from a strengths-focused perspective. Behavioral questions are about gauging the candidate’s decision-making skills, collaboration skills, and how they utilize critical thinking to overcome unexpected challenges. They want to see the authentic candidate and learn about their strengths.
It’s okay to be nervous when you’ve been invited to do a big job interview; it’s proof that you understand its importance. Remember that if you’ve been asked to sit down for an interview, you are qualified for the job! An employer is not going to interview every candidate that applies for the position, so if you are chosen for a virtual/telephone/in-person interview, this means that the employer saw your application and wanted to learn more about your skills, strengths, and abilities.
If you have limited experience with interviewing, CPD offers both virtual assistance with Big Interview and other coaching services. When a student schedules a Mock Interview, career coaches will provide extensive feedback concerning content of an answer, body language, and showcasing skills. We want every student to be successful.
An employer wants to hear about your successes. This is your opportunity to talk about all the academic projects you are proud of and about your passion for your work. When describing past experiences, make sure to make full eye contact, provide relevant details, and speak up clearly. It’s important to stay away from mentioning anything negative; don’t throw past employers or fellow students under the bus. If you have to talk about disagreements with team members or supervisors, always talk about how you were able to respectfully communicate your ideas, listen to another perspective, and compromise when necessary.
Numbers and data tell a vivid story. It’s important to provide context for an employer. For example, if you’re skilled in social media and want to relate it to a question about community outreach, make sure to include your view numbers, percentage increases, and general level of engagement.
Absolutely! Among the biggest strengths of a UNC Greensboro student are their academic skills, decision making capabilities, ability to juggle both school and work, excellence in research, dedication to volunteer work in the community, and openness to a global perspective.
When talking about your transferable skills, the most important item for students to focus on is context. Every student here at the University has unique leadership, communication, and team-building skills that make them excellent candidates for multiple jobs. Look up the NACE Competencies. Employers are actively looking for students with soft skills or power skills.
When job searching, it’s the student’s responsibility to talk about their accomplishments and how each of their unique transferable skills make them the best candidate for the position. It’s the responsibility of the job candidate to explain the importance of their work.
After the Job Fair
Within 24 hours of your interview, you should send a follow-up email thanking the employer(s) for taking the time to interview them. In addition to thanking them, this is also a great opportunity to reiterate your strengths and talk about your passion for the organization. You may refer to one of the questions asked in the interview and reiterate your strengths.
The ideal length for this follow-up communication would be 2 to 3 paragraphs. When communicating with the recruiter/contact person, ask if they can share the emails for all staff members who will be at the initial interview. If the interview is virtually, this gives you the opportunity to send everyone an email.
Every employer that will be attending UNCG’s Career Fair in September is listed on the Fall 2023 Career Fair webpage. This lets you see the positions employers are looking to hire for (full-time, internship), what majors the employer is recruiting from, what the school years the employer is recruiting for, and other information that can help you put together a plan long before you shake hands.
After a student has met with a recruiter at the Career Fair, it’s always good to include this information when writing a cover letter or networking email to a perspective employer. This is a great way to humbly name drop and show that you have done your homework.
Attending the Fall Career Fair, participating in Campus Greensboro, and completing an internship will also open new avenues for networking with professionals in the field, who might remember you when a position within their company opens up.
UNCG’s Part-Time Job Fair is on August 31 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Cone Ballroom of the EUC.
Read more about UNCG’s Career and Professional Development’s support services for students here.
Story by Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications