Former Paine College student Steven Coley was no stranger to school-organized job fairs during his academic career, but his role changed Wednesday from prospective job seeker to recruiter.
The 2008 graduate returned to campus for Paine’s “Leading into the 21st Century” career fair. Only this time, Coley was attending on behalf of Kroger, where he has worked since graduating. He now manages a store in the Atlanta area.
“I felt like it was my duty because the school is so small,” said Coley, who earned an accounting degree. “The alumni help gain exposure for the school and the students.”
Kroger was one of 15 employers at the school’s first fall career fair, aimed at students but also open to members of the community.
Representatives from other large companies, such as ADP, Wal-Mart and State Farm, also were on hand to pass out information, collect résumés and interact with students one on one.
Prospective workers also could have their résumés critiqued during the event.
Coley and his colleagues had gotten about 15 résumés within the first hour and were looking for managers, part-time associates and interns to work within the four-state area of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company expects to hire 175 management employees in 2014.
Angelique Green, a senior at Paine, said part of her game plan was dressing for success. The 21-year-old came dressed in dark slacks and a blazer. She had about 20 résumés to hand out to employers. Green said she did her homework on each company at the event.
“I feel like it’s always great to network with people, get to know people,” she said. “You never know who you’ll run into or who will help you out with finding a job as well.”
For ADP recruiters Priscilla Gary and Latasha Cook, professional presentation and communication skills ranked high on what they found desirable about potential employees. The workforce solutions provider was hiring for positions across the board.
Green, a business management student, said she was confident about entering the job market upon graduating, having completed an internship program at Walt Disney World.
“I’m not worried at all,” she said. “I’m just trying to weigh my options and see what’s out there.”
Paine mass communications junior Fredrick Hutchinson, who is doing an internship with Watchmen Broadcasting in North Augusta, also said he believed his internship would help him land a job.
“That’s when you get out in the real world,” he said.
The career fair was sponsored by the Paine College School of Professional Studies, the Office of Career Services and the Black Executive Exchange Program. Though the college offers a larger job fair in the spring, this was its first fall event.
“A lot of recruiters start looking at candidates during the fall so that it won’t be last minute,” said April Ewing, the college’s director of career services. “It’s really important that students get that opportunity to meet face to face with employers.”