This year’s job fair goes virtual

Job fairs can create stress for students. 

“Writing a resume, small talk with employers and preparing for interviews are new skills for most students,” said Rhonda Mercadal-Evans, the Associate Director of Center for Advising, Career & Student Success at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). 

During these types of events, students have to approach strangers, essentially asking them if they would hire someone like them. At this year’s job fair on March 16, CSUMB had to forgo their usual setup of tables arranged around the University Ballroom for a pandemic alternative, utilizing breakout rooms on Zoom.

Various campus departments were represented in the breakout rooms. Among them were Americorps, Associated Students, the College of Business, the Cooperative Learning Center, First-Year Experience, Otter Cross-Cultural Center Otter Student Union, Recreation, the Library and more. Students often use Otter Jobs to find updated information about job openings each of these departments offer. 

Communication design major Eva-lyn Mendoza had a stressful experience when using Otter Jobs. 

“One thing I would have liked to have was a tutorial or session breaking down how to use and navigate Otter Jobs,” Mendoza said. “Otter Jobs is pretty confusing and I don’t even know where to start.” 

The event started in the main Zoom room with career services offering an overview of the event before students hopped into a “How to Get Hired” breakout room. 

“Attending the ‘How to Get Hired’ information breakout room was the most helpful,” Mendoza said. “It went over some basic requirements to be a student worker. They were also there to answer some questions which was helpful.” 

Cinematic arts and technology major Carolina Cisernos noted the event was very useful. 

“I really like how the whole event was handled, it was handled professionally and smoothly,” Cisernos said. “I applaud everyone who worked the event because they truly made it great!“ 

From the staff perspective, the online fairs proved successful. 

“To our surprise, the online event has been very successful. We have had more students attend the virtual events than in person,” Mercadel-Evans said. 

She also said more employers were willing to do virtual fairs and events because they did not have to worry about travelling expenses.

The student perspective of the event was also positive. 

“I loved learning about the different opportunities about the library, Student Life, Student Housing and a couple organizations,” Mendoza said. “I thought the virtual job fair was well done.”

 “Everything was done in a virtual modality, resulting in CSUMB students having the opportunity to have more internships,” Mercadel-Evans said. “Jobs they would not normally have if the career fair was in-person.” 

Students looking for more help can visit the website, where they can book an appointment with a career advisor to get assistance with resumes, cover letters, salary negotiation, mock interviews, internships and more.

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