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Inside Kendall

Dispatch from the Career Fair: What are employers looking for?

On November 6, 2013, the Career Services Department at Kendall College hosted a fair for students and alumni to meet directly with more than 70 employers from 35 companies ranging from Magnolia Bakery to Choose Chicago (tourism board). In addition, nine of the attendees were businesses run by alumni of Kendall. The fair hosts companies and organizations interested in hiring students and alumni for their job openings and internships in business, culinary, baking and pastry, early childhood education and hospitality.

“After the fair we calculated that more than 50 interviews have already been scheduled as a result of networking between our students, alumni and the attending businesses,” shared Director of Career Services Kristen Hodges. “One reason our fairs are so successful is due to our continued interaction with attendees. We like to hear feedback so we can improve and cater the event to their needs.”

Students and alumni attend for various reasons including turning in resumes for job openings and internships. But for some, the fair is an opportunity to stretch their networking legs.

“This is such a great networking opportunity for me,” shared one student attendee. “I’ve already talked to several places that I would love to work for. I have a passion for organic foods so it’s nice that there are places I’ve talked to that are all about organic.”

Hanna’s Bretzel confirmed this by saying “we want people [to work for us] who not only have an interest in organic foods, but are passionate about it.”

Most of the students and alumni (more than 30 from graduation years 1997-2013 attended) at the fair are searching for insight about what employers want in a candidate.

The representative from GT Fish & Oyster immediately shared their top priority: “We’re looking for great personalities first and foremost.”

“Who are we looking for here? People that are friendly, personable and talkative. That’s the main thing,” shared employers from famed Chicago restaurant chain Lou Malnati’s. “They need to be a good face for our company and be willing to work hard and start at the bottom to prove [themselves.]”

“[We hire Kendall students and graduates because] they are passionate and prepared.” Said a representative from US Foods.

This sentiment was echoed by several other employers at the fair who mentioned Kendall student and alumni stand out from other candidates due to their  “professionalism,” “knowledge and enthusiasm,” “excellent training,” and “highly prepared.”

100 percent of employer attendees said they would return to Kendall for the next Career Fair. Get ready with our series about Caeer Services, links below. Or make an appointment by email or phone 312.752.2012.

Career Services 101: All about Cover Letters
Career Services 101: Phone Interview Tips & Tricks
Career Services 101: How to Succeed at a Job Fair

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