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Students, alumni connect with employers at the Spring Career Fair and Education Career Fair

Student at a computer

National groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring is soon on its way. As spring approaches, many students begin thinking about employment after graduation, and many alumni may be considering a career change. To help Redbirds with their careers, the Career Center is hosting its Spring Career Fair and Education Career Fair.

Spring Career Fair

The Spring Career Fair, held on February 18, will be in the Bone Student Center’s Brown Ballroom. The fair connects Illinois State students and alumni from all majors seeking full-time positions with employers seeking to hire Redbird talent.

Over 130 organizations are registered to attend the fair. These employers represent a number of industries, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, local businesses, hospitals, and government agencies. Career Center Partners such as  Caterpillar, C.H. Robinson, Cintas, COUNTY Financial, Enterprise, GROWMARK, and Liberty Mutual are just a few of the companies attending. Non-profit organizations such as Chestnut Health Systems, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Department of Revenue, police departments, and a few school districts are also registered. In addition, law firms, organizations with computer science/IT and accounting openings, and a large number of organizations seeking candidates from all areas of interest/majors, are also registered to attend.

Education Career Fair

Also held in the Bone Student Center’s Brown Ballroom, the Education Career Fair on March 3 connects school administrators, superintendents, and other employers from the field of education seeking to hire candidates in education and related fields for open positions. Over 165 employers are registered including local school districts, those from the Chicagoland area, and other areas across the country.

At the Education Career Fair, many interviews are held on the spot.

At the Education Career Fair, many interviews are held on the spot.

The Education Fair is not only open to teacher candidates, but also for others that are interested in working within the education system.

“We are very excited to continue to host a variety of school districts attending this year’s fair,” comments Career Advisor Renee Carrigan. “There is clearly a teacher shortage in the country as evidenced by diversity of schools and districts attending, as even parochial and charter schools are coming to the fair.”

The Education Fair is not only open to teacher candidates from all content areas, but also for those who want to work in the education system. “I encourage those in speech pathology, psychology, nursing to attend, as there are employers that are seeking to fill those positions as well.”

“I also encourage students from all class standings to attend, even freshmen and sophomores,” Carrigan said. “It is an excellent opportunity for students to observe what a fair is like, listen in on conversations and hear employers’ questions and candidate’s responses. It gives them some things to consider so they can prepare for the future. Don’t wait until you are a senior to attend a fair for the first time.”

Fair Preparation

To help students and alumni prepare for the Spring Career Fair and the Education Career Fair, the Career Center provides résumé reviews and interview tips. Students can make an appointment with their career advisor through Hire-A-Redbird, or by stopping by the Career Center during drop-in hours for helpful advice from highly trained career ambassadors, who are also their peers. The Career Center also hosts Late-night Resume Reviews from 7:30–9:30 p.m. on various dates before the fairs on the third floor of Milner Library to provide individual résumé reviews and constructive feedback

“Attendees should also review the list of employers attending our career fairs and research them before the event so they are familiar with the organizations, identify if they are a good fit, and to be able to answer employer questions effectively,” said Susan Whitsitt, Career Center assistant director for Marketing and Communication.

The Sympicity Jobs and Careers app helps students connect with employers and find jobs!tudents can discoverget

The Career Center’s Symplicity Jobs and Careers app helps student connect with employers and find jobs.

A complete list of employers attending the fairs and details about them are available on the webpages for each fair and through  Hire-A-Redbird. The Career Center also has a new app, Symplicity Jobs and Careers. Students can download it for free through the App Store and Google Play and use it to identify which employers are attending, what positions they are hiring, and to let their top 10 preferred employers know that they will be stopping by their table. “It’s a great tool that allows students to connect with employers, even before the fair,” Whitsitt continued.

Additional fair planning tips

Other ways that students can prepare for the fair include:

  • Visiting InterviewStream, an online video interviewing tool with questions listed by major and job industry, which allows students to practice their answers and playback.
  • Developing a 30 second summary of your professional skills, experience, and interests. Then, identify your answers to common interview questions. A list of sample questions are available in the Career Resource Guide.
  • Dressing professionally. A business suit is recommended. Utilize the Student Government Association’s new Career Closet for help.
  • Researcing the employers you plan on meeting so you can effectively answer the question, “what do you know about our organization?”
  • Creating a profile in Hire-A-Redbird: post your résumé, identify positions and to apply for them. If you already have your profile created, be sure your information is up-to-date.
  • Ordering free business cards to distribute to employers and print out a résumé on free paper at the Career Center.

Bonus for education majors

To provide education majors with additional support, the Career Center is hosting Hiring Tips for the Education Industry the evening before the fair. This program introduces students to some of the school districts attending the fair who will provide advice on how to navigate the application and interview process. “It’s also a great opportunity for students to meet employers and build connections,” states Carrigan.

Bonus for employers

In the fall, the Career Center will host the Fall Education Student Teacher and Career Fair on November 6. The purpose of this fair is to allow employers an opportunity to meet potential candidates and make student teacher candidates aware of student teaching opportunities. Employer registration opens soon, so employers are encouraged to save the date.

A new season brings new hope. For Redbirds, the spring is not only about a weather change and graduation, but also about starting a great career and a season of career success.

The Career Center supports Illinois State University’s Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State—The Strategic Plan for Illinois’ First Public University 2018-2023 by assisting students with developing, evaluating and/or implementing career, education, and employment decisions.




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