Weeks of preparation and promotion came to a successful conclusion Thursday with more than 300 job-seekers attending the Union County Industry Job Fair at the Union County Advanced Technology Center (UCATC).
The Union County Industry Job Fair was the result of a collaboration between the Union County Advanced Technology Center, SCWorks, and the Union County Development Board. The job fair was different from other job fairs in that it provided on-site interview opportunities between job-seekers and the participating companies.
It was also different from job fairs in that the sponsoring organizations spent the weeks leading up to it providing job-seekers with opportunities to prepare in advance and maximize their chances of getting a job. Those opportunities included a program on “How To Turn A Job Fair Into A Job Offer” presented at the SCWorks office in Union by Jennifer Little, director of the Spartanburg Community College Career Services Office.
The Advanced Technology Center is part of the SCC system and Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster sent out an email explaining to job-seekers how much the Internet and social media have changed job fairs and how those seeking to get jobs through them have had to adjust to that reality. That adjustment includes preparing in advance for a job fair by, among other things, researching the companies that will be involved to get to know them and what they are looking for in an employee.
Another opportunity for job-seekers to prepare and, in this case, get a jump on other job-seekers, was the “Preferred Pass” workshops offered by SCWorks. The workshops stressed the importance of job-seekers developing “soft skills” such as the ability to communicate and time management. Those who attended and completed the workshops were then given a Preferred Pass which enabled them to get in to the job fair an hour earlier than the general public.
The weeks of preparation and promotion paid off Thursday as more than 300 job-seekers — 35 of them Preferred Pass holders — attended the job fair.
“We had everyone who came in register and we had at least 300 to register,” UCATC Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster said Friday morning. “I’m sure we had some who did not register but we had at least 300 who did. I think it was a major success.”
When job-seekers first entered the job fair, they were each given the opportunity to have a “selfie” taken of them holding a plaque with a word that they felt best described themselves as an employee. The selfie could then be placed on Facebook or other social media to help the job-seekers market themselves as an employee to prospective employers.
The selfies were part of the fair’s emphasis on the role the Internet now plays in the job-seeking and job recruitment process. The fair also provided job-seekers with hashtag #mfgjobsunion.sc that they could use.
After having a selfie taken, job-seekers then had the option of getting a resume “check-up” conducted by personnel from the Spartanburg Community College Career Services Office and SCWorks.
Lancaster said that a total of 33 job-seekers took advantage of this service to have their resumes reviewed and critiqued and get recommendations on improving them.
Job-seekers were each advised to have 10 copies of their resumes with them when they attended the job fair, one for each of the 10 companies participating.
Another service provided was assistance in making an application online or on paper. Lancaster said this service was provided in the center’s computer lab for those job-seekers who’d been directed by the companies to apply for positions online or on paper during the job fair.
Then, of course, there was the conference room where the following companies set up their booths:
• Construction Resource Group
• Standard Textile
• Belk Distribution
• Dollar General Distribution
• Vapor Apparel
• Milliken (both local plants)
• Union County School District
• The Town of Carlisle
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the conference room was filled with job-seekers lined up at the booths, filling out forms; asking questions of and being asked questions by the representatives of those companies; and receiving information about those companies.
Lancaster said that throughout the job fair and afterwards during an ice cream social for the company representatives and the technology center, SCWorks and development board personnel who helped manage the event, the company representatives said they were pleased with the fair and impressed with the job-seekers.
“The employers were pleased that the job-seekers were prepared, that they did their homework, were professionally dressed, and asked some good questions at the booths they visited,” Lancaster said. “They were all very pleased with the job fair.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or email@example.com.
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