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CareerFest brings local employers to campus

The University of Maine’s 2018 CareerFest was held from Tuesday, Sept. 18, to Thursday, Sept. 20, and connected local employers to students on campus for advice about job qualifications, resumes and interviews.

The Career Center held this event in preparation for the Career Fair, held annually in the spring. Samantha Wheeler is a career counselor at the center and helped develop this event. Wheeler said she hopes that students come away from the series of events prepared for future interactions with employers.

“Having employers come and look at their resume providing them with advice is just helping them be more prepared, [ … ] this is kind of the foundation for what we are going to be providing them for different events down the road, like for our engineering job fair and for our career fair,” Wheeler said.

Looking toward the spring, students will be able to take the criticism and experience from CareerFest to the Career Fair, an event that matches current students with employers looking to fill positions.

The event featured a runway show for appropriate job interview attire, resume advice and review tables with local employers and an informational panel of federal employees geared toward aspiring government workers.

“It gives students an opportunity in a more informal setting where they’re not there trying to get themselves a job or an internship but it’s more of preparing them and talking to employers first hand on what are they looking for [in] a strong applicant,” Wheeler said.

On average, the higher a person’s education level, the more money he or she will earn and the more secure that person’s job will be. Since 2010, the unemployment rate for four-year college graduates has drastically decreased from five percent in 2010 to 2.5 percent in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jacob Brown is a fourth-year forestry student at UMaine who participated in CareerFest. He said he is not worried about job security after graduation.

“I have three companies right now that want me to work for them,” Brown said.  

Brown attended the federal jobs panel discussion to explore more options about the possibility of working for the government in the future.

“I’ve done a lot in the private industry side, I just wanted to see what was it was like in federal positions,” Brown said.

First-year business management student Lilly Furrow attended the federal jobs panel discussion to learn more about government positions in her field of study.

“This opened up my mind and expanded my knowledge about what kind of jobs are out there for me,” Furrow said.

There were five agencies represented on the panel held on Sept. 20, and each had a chance to talk about their department’s respective work, expectations for employees and how to apply for internships and jobs. The panel discussion lasted two hours with representatives giving advice on resume formatting and diving deep into nuances of the job application process, including how long it usually takes for a company to respond to an applicant.

Tammy Goodwin works in human resources for the National Park Service and was one of the panel members. She talked about how important it is to reach young people graduating from college to fill the many positions available in the civil service field.

“It’s important just to promote our agency. Especially Acadia National Park and St. Croix Island because we’re located here in Maine and we strive to hire locals. And as the years have gone by, we find it kind of hard to continue that pattern. So my feeling is coming out to the colleges, local work fairs, what have you, is really important to try and continue that process of drawing Maine folks into Maine jobs,” Goodwin said.

The Career Center is located on the third floor of the Memorial Union and is available to help all students with questions about careers, internships and general work experience.

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