York College senior Joshua Skinner admitted he was a little nervous at the college's career expo on Wednesday.
He wasn't the only one, judging by the amount of pacing, resume glancing and students practicing introductory speeches to themselves around the Grumbacher Center floor.
The career fair had about 75 employers, many from York County, with representatives available to do on-the-spot interviews, answer questions, take resumes, and do some hand-shaking.
Skinner, a Harrisburg native, wants to get into entrepreneurship and said with a laugh that he managed to bungle a name during one meet-and-greet. But otherwise, he thinks he's met a few
leads for job opportunities. The fair is better than online job searches, he said.
"I always like the face-to-face contact," he said.
Meeting employers: That's the goal of the fair, now in its 29th year, said Beverly Evans, assistant dean of academic services. Online applications are popular, but that just makes a fair all the more valuable.
"You can't beat face-to-face because everything is online," Evans.
Evans said the event gained a few employers from last year, and that jobs are available -- it's not just for show.
But students need to prove themselves, and not just assume a once-over on the resume and a tie will do it. Students need to think through what they want to do and what skills they bring so they can adequately answer questions, she said.
The fair worked for Abby Keefer. As the human resources coordinator at Dentsply, a dental prosthetics manufacturer with a York location, Keefer was in attendance with human resources generalist Kim Martin looking for an inside sales representative and student interns.
Two years ago, Keefer was an applicant, and she used her meeting at the fair with Dentsply to land an internship and eventually a job.
"It's cool to see it come full circle," she said.
Impressive: Martin said she was impressed with some students who were dressed professionally, had all of their paperwork, and had the "seven-second sell" of what they can offer.
York's Glatfelter Insurance Group was seeking summer interns and had a full page of job openings. Human resources administrative manager Sara Spangler said she's been coming to the fair for about 10 years, and has noticed younger students are starting to show up to try to get their foot in the door earlier. Glatfelter is eager to meet with York College students, she said.
"We are happy to keep people in York County," Spangler said.
Paradox: Juniors Ashleigh Sload, a Lancaster resident, and Gianna Rico, a Brookeville, Md., resident, walked around in tandem trying to find graphic design internship opportunities. Rico said that although they have a year to go, they have some apprehension about getting a job, as Sload said they face the age-old paradox of needing experience to get a job, but needing the job to get experience.
Still, they were glad to have the fair around.
"It's always better to introduce yourself in person," Rico said.
Experience is pivotal, said Rebecca Porterfield, a public relations account executive with Dillsburg-based Suasion Marketing & Communications. She was looking for students who had at least some experience, even if it was from volunteering or an internship.
She offered a piece of advice for young job seekers, too.
"Don't get too hung up on having that perfect job lined up" before graduation, she said.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org