North Iowa Job and Career Fair
Dear Job Seekers/Students, Employers and the North Iowa Region:
North Iowa Area Community College continues to take measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and limit the exposure to the NIACC community and surrounding region. For the past several years, NIACC has hosted the North Iowa Job and Career Fair in early April, an event attended by hundreds of people. Due to continued concern with COVID-19, the North Iowa Job and Career Fair will not be held this academic school year.
We are considering other opportunities for how area employers and NIACC students may connect regarding job and career opportunities. However, at this time, no related activities are scheduled.
Employers are welcome to visit our Employer Services page at niacc.edu/student-life/career-internship-center/employer-services/ to post jobs and/or internship opportunities.
Students and alumni are welcome to visit the following pages:
Job postings: niacc.edu/category/job-postings/
Internships: check out niacc.edu/student-life/career-internship-center/internships/ for more information about exploring and setting up an internship.
There are also other helpful job search tips located on the Student Life section of the NIACC website.
Looking for resources or assistance in getting prepared (i.e. resume review, tips on how to approach and start a discussion with an employer, etc.) for the Job and Career Fair?
- NIACC students may contact NIACC’s Career Services team at CareerServices@niacc.edu or 641-422-4413.
- General public/all job seekers are welcome to contact IowaWORKS for job search and career fair prep assistance. Stop by IowaWORKS at 600 South Pierce Avenue in Mason City or call 641-422-1524.
Successful Job Fair Tips
Attending a job or career fair gives you something a job board or website can’t – personal interaction with a recruiter. Here are some tips to help you make a good impression and get the most out of this event!
Before the Job and Career Fair
Research Employers and Have a Game Plan
- Review websites and current job postings for those employers you are most interested in. Become familiar with the employer so that you can show you did your homework and ask good questions. You will look under-prepared if you ask “so what does your company do?”.
- Get a list of employers and booth map when you arrive and prioritize who you hope to visit with. Take a breather between employers to re-group and focus on the next employer on your list.
Don’t Rule Out
- Just because an employer specializes in an industry does not mean that they don’t have other types of positions. For example most healthcare employers have jobs that work directly with patients (CNAs, nurses, therapists) and other positions that are indirect with little to no patient contact (i.e. billing/coding, information technology, maintenance). Check out all opportunities.
- Think you don’t have enough or the right skills. Discuss with employers what skills you do have and find out more if they are willing to train.
Create or Update Resume
- Have a great resume tool ready to offer the employer. Have someone else review and give you feedback. Bring several copies and keep organized in a sturdy folder or portfolio.
- See “Be Prepared” section above for assistance with resume updating.
Day of Job and Career Fair
Dress for Success / Make A Good Impression
- First impressions are important. Make sure to look clean, neat and well groomed.
Be comfortable yet dressed as if going to a mini-interview.
- Practice your handshake and eye contact.
- Be professional, enthusiastic, and courteous; thank the employer for their time even if it appears they are not the right match for you.
- Avoid saying negative things about yourself or past employers; plus avoid chewing gum or eating/drinking.
Starting the Conversation and Building Rapport
- Develop a short sound bite (often called an “elevator pitch”) to use to start a conversation with an employer. This often includes your name; occupational interest; and example of a skill(s), experience(s) or accomplishment.
”Hello. My name is Jane and I have ten years of successful experience in office settings. I am most known for my computer skills, keen attention to detail, and ability to provide high quality customer service. I am hoping to transfer my skills to the banking/finance industry and wanted to visit with you about that today.”
“Hello. I am John and I will graduate from NIACC in May with a diploma in building trades. My passion for building and fixing things came from working side-by-side with my uncle in building sheds on the family’s farm here in North Iowa. I researched your company and would like to talk to you about some of your full-time job opportunities”.
“Hi, I am Katie. I was excited to see that your company was going to be here today because I am looking for a new opportunity to use my computer programming skills. In addition to my formal training and certifications, I most recently led a team in developing a new software platform and implementing it prior to the cutover deadline. Can we visit about how I might be a good fit for your organization?”
- DO NOT ask wages, salary and benefits. It is too early in the process. Once you are offered a job, you can then try to negotiate a salary. The focus of this interaction is the opportunity and how you may be a good fit.
- Despite the name “Job and Career Fair”, you are NOT trying to get a job at the event. You are trying to build an initial relationship with a potential employer. Companies often don’t hire “on the spot.” Try to build rapport with the recruiter by expressing genuine interest in the company. Describe your qualifications see if they match the requirements of the positions they are hiring.
- Get a business card and ask if you can send your resume directly to them. If you are directed to an online application process, ask them if there is anything you can do to stand out or other advice for getting a “foot in the door.”
The reality is that fewer recruiters are accepting paper resumes at career fairs. They are directing job seekers to online application processes. So, the real work may actually begin after the event. When writing your cover letter, mention that you met “Pam Wright, the recruiter from your company at the North Iowa Job and Career Fair, and she indicated I may be a good fit for the Accounting Associate position.”
Make yourself memorable by sending a thank you email within 24 hours. Remind the recruiter you visited at the Job and Career Fair and maybe something else that stuck out from your discussion. Include your phone number and email address in the email and let them know you followed their instructions for applying.