Web sites, job fairs allow students to plan for future

By Colleen Vest

Professional networking Web sites LinkedIn and AlwaysIllinois.org “Primarily, these are for networking, but alumni and other companies can post jobs here,” said Keri Pipkins, assistant director at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright St. Pros: Professional networking Web sites can allow for a more personal connection with a company.Professional networking Web sites

LinkedIn and AlwaysIllinois.org

“Primarily, these are for networking, but alumni and other companies can post jobs here,” said Keri Pipkins, assistant director at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright St.

Pros: Professional networking Web sites can allow for a more personal connection with a company.

“Networking is a great way to connect with possible employers, especially now because companies may be on a hiring freeze,” said Katie Kennealy, assistant director for internships and experiential education at the Career Center.

Cons: Even though jobs are posted, applicants usually still have to submit resumes to the company’s Web site, Pipkins said.

“With LinkedIn and AlwaysIllinois, the jobs are being posted because it’s an alum looking for an applicant from the University of Illinois,” Pipkins said.

Campus job boards

iLink-all majors, Symplicity-Business or Engineering, E-Recruiter-Education

Pros: Jobs are specifically for students, Pipkins said.

“For the campus job boards, the company specifically wants candidates from this campus. The company doesn’t want to have to sift through applications from all over the country,” said Lois Meerdink, assistant dean of Business Career Services.

Cons: Students may still have to apply on the company’s Web site, which can take time, Pipkins said.

Keyword search Web sites

JobCentral.com, Indeed.com, simplyhired.com

How to Use: Enter keyword for job, such as accountant or market researcher, and the city and state. The Web site will pull all jobs containing that keyword, Pipkins said.

Pros: Applicants can search for jobs by city and state.

“With keyword searches, all jobs within that keyword are pulled from employer Web sites and job boards, so you don’t have to go searching in different places,” Pipkins said.

With this type of Web site, job openings at lesser known companies that are hard to find are listed, Pipkins said.

Cons: Students need to know what type of keywords to use, Pipkins said.

“Students really need a clear concept of what jobs they want to apply for when using this Web sites,” Pipkins said.

Resume-posting Web sites

Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Craigslist.com

Pros: Applicants just post resumes, but do not need to seek out specific companies.

“If students do use Web sites like Monster or CareerBuilder, they should use keywords in the application and resume that mirror words the company uses,” said Lois Meerdink, assistant dean of Business Career Services.

Cons: A lot of resumes are posted on these Web sites, so it can be more competitive.

“So many resumes are posted on these sites, so it is really hard to stand out from other applicants,” Pipkins said.

Hiring rates from resume posting Web sites are really low, Pipkins said.

Campus job fairs

Pros: Students can take more control and meet people from the company at job fairs rather than just posting information online, Meerdink said.

“With job fairs students can really make personal connections and stand out,” Meerdink said. “You can show them your enthusiasm, non-verbal communication, ask questions and things like that which can’t be done online.”

Cons: Students still will have to apply on the company’s Web site, Pipkins said.

“We have 10 or so career fairs at the University this Spring, and about 800 to 1,000 companies making themselves available,” Meerdink said.

Applying directly to company Web sites

Pros: By applying directly, students have to compete with fewer applicants, and students can tailor the application to meet company standards, Pipkins said.

“Going on a company’s Web site and applying directly is very effective especially if you met someone from that company at a job fair,” Pipkins said.

Cons: Applying directly can take more time because you have to search for the company and the position.

General tips from the experts

  • Sign up for campus job boards
  • Make sure resume is error-free
  • Attend job fairs on campus
  • Keep an open mind – “Students should stay open especially for nonprofit and government organizations,” said Meerdink.
  • Meet with recruiters