November 08, 2010 12:00AM
He couldn't remember the student's name. Only that the young man who interviewed with him last year at Pittsburg State University's Career Boost was articulate, well-dressed, professional - and would be perfect for a management-level job opening James Oaks had just heard about within his company.
That's when Oaks, a talent manager for Enterprise Holdings, Inc., called the Office of Career Services, asking for help locating the student. And when the office tracked down Fredrick Njoroge, it wasn't long before the young man had a job.
Oaks recalled this story about the importance of a good first impression at this fall's Career Boost event, held Nov. 1 in Overman Student Center. A more intimate career fair giving students an opportunity to sit down with Career Services staff, Career Boost focuses on the basics of getting a job, such as writing a solid cover letter and perfecting interview skills.
"It's important for students to get everything they can from the real world," said Oaks, who attended the event as a guest speaker and discussed the concerns job-hunters have after hearing worst-case scenarios about the job market. "I think it's important for students to sit down with someone who can look straight back at them and say 'It's not that bad.' We're hiring. We need great people and we'll always have room for great people."
About 100 students dropped by the evening event, rotating through tables staffed by employers and PSU staff giving them realistic advice about what expect during a job interview - and how to simply land one in the first place by submitting impressive materials. Staff members spoke about the "hopelessness" of students in recent years, and said they are happy to see the outlook improving.
"We know pretty soon the dam is going to burst and companies will start hiring," said Oaks, who conducted seven job interviews on campus Monday before heading to Career Boost.
For MBA student Ashlee Ricks, attending her first career-focused event on campus was a valuable experience for not only the mock interview in which she participated, but also for the advice on her resume.
"When you've been a student for awhile, you're out of the mindset of doing interviews," she said. "These sorts of events seem very helpful for people who want to set themselves apart. It gives you a different spin of what's going on in the real world and takes you out of the box."