Job fair: Many more looking, far fewer hiring

College taking much different tone with graduating seniors

The Career Connection Fair at Mesa State College on Thursday will have about half the number of job vendors as in recent years.

Diane Kull of the Mesa State advising and career center said the fair will have 59 job vendors, compared with about 100 employers in previous years.

“It is down a little bit this year,” Kull said. “We are also anticipating a much larger turnout.”

The recession has decreased vendors and increased job seekers, Kull said. The career fair is open to the community, not just students, she said.

That means competition for those jobs will be fierce. “All applicants are going to have to be on top of their game,” Kull said.

Kull said career advisers at the advising center are changing how they advise students who are graduating into a recession.

“We’re telling them to broaden their search,” Kull said. “In the past, students may have had a specific idea of what they wanted to do. Now, it’s whatever jobs are available.”

Sarah Whitehurst, a 26-year-old graduating nursing student, said she would like to get a job at an area hospital but might have to expand her job search to nursing homes, health departments and private practice.

Whitehurst said she has heard that competition for health-sciences jobs is heating up locally, with many older nurses returning to work because their husbands have lost jobs.

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors that the hospitals aren’t hiring like they used to,” Whitehurst said. “It’s definitely understandable to hire someone with 20 years experience over someone who’s a brand-new grad.”

The resume and cover letter make the all-important first impression, Kull said, but networking is becoming a more important way to find available jobs.

The problem with networking is many job seekers don’t understand what it means, Kull said.

“Networking is all about people you know,” she said. “It is always important, but people tend to forget that when the economy is good.”

On the positive side, Kull said, vendors who will be at the career fair represent a wide variety of professions and include the Internal Revenue Service, Target, Chipotle, Halliburton and various branches of the military.

The vendors will be hiring for jobs in Grand Junction and around the region, including Utah and the Front Range.


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