Job fairs have a long standing tradition of matching job seekers with job recruiters- and in today’s job market, this is essential. With resumes in hand, confidence peaked, and smiles on, ten students from the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center got their first experience with a job fair at the recent Southwestern Community College Job Fair held in Sylva, NC on March 31st, 2011.
Health Occupations student, Victoria Harting, has always dreamed of working with young children or infants in the medical field and was encouraged by what she learned at the fair. “I was unsure what all was required to work in pediatrics or neo-natal. By the time I finished talking with representatives from regional hospitals, I knew exactly the different choices I had to make my dream happen and what a future employer would be looking for”.
Job fairs also provide a ‘soft’ interview opportunity for job seekers where they can learn valuable information about a company while also sharing their past experience and interests. Forestry Conservation and Firefighting student, Anthony Brown, talked with a wide range of the over 50 employers there including everything from Lowe’s to a regional power company. “I came to Job Corps with lots of past work experience, but when I graduate, I really want to have a career- and I’ve realized that’s a huge difference. I’m not just going to have a job anymore”.
All ten students were also encouraged by Business Community Liaison, Holly Krake, to observe their job seeker ‘competition’ and remember Oconaluftee’s Career Success Standards such as Career and Personal Planning. “What do you see around you? Notice attitude, dress, and communication. Now, think about the hiring representatives and go through the same mental checklist”. Many students were surprised at how big the difference was, noting many ‘seekers’ wore jeans or had no prepared resume. The biggest lessons learned were the importance of professionalism and preparedness to land a successful job and career. All students were thankful to Southwestern Community College for hosting the event and the opportunity to attend.
The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina and currently serves 68 students. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information about OJCCCC, visit oconaluftee.jobcorps.gov . For more information on the National Forests of North Carolina, visit fs.fed.us