There is nothing like the cold slap of reality experienced by the average college student when forced to consider the unknown territory of life post-graduation.
The good news is that Bellevue College students and recent grads can breathe easy; their solution may be as nearby as their campus cafeteria. May 2 marked this year’s Annual Job and Networking Fair hosted by the Center for Career Connections, a large-scale hiring event bringing the diversity of local employers directly to Bellevue College campus. The Center for Career Connections at BC is tailored specifically to assist students with their transition into the workforce, whether it is by connecting them with a job or internship, narrowing down a career path or merely developing a likely interest. This year’s Networking Fair provided a perfect example of what Career Connections does best.
Over 40 different hiring companies were represented throughout the school cafeteria, handing out brochures and engaging students in easy conversation as they passed by. Everyone from serious job applicants in business attire to casual bystanders in denim was invited to pick up a map of the event at the cafeteria entrances along with a directory of the various organizations present. They were then free to browse the tables and talk to the representatives about different hiring positions ranging from marketing and sales, software development, healthcare and community service. Nearly every employer present offered both part-time and full-time positions, entry-level work with opportunity for advancement, and the flexibility in working hours so precious to the busy college student. It would have been difficult to leave the Job Fair without at least one new idea in mind for future employment.
For those who came away from the Job and Networking Fair still contemplating on whether or not to apply, the prospects are hopeful. Many of the employers were regulars at Bellevue College’s hiring events and expressed their interest in hiring from the student community. “This is my fourth time recruiting here on campus,” said Sandra, the representative from Snoqualmie Casino, “I enjoy the networking and always meet a lot of new people.” Snoqualmie was just one of the many companies offering a wide array of administrative positions, hiring an average of 1150 people every year.
Other companies such as CampusPoint and Amerishore were present not to recruit directly, but to span the bridge between interested students and their best-matching employers. CampusPoint serves as a free resource for students and recent graduates across all majors by connecting them with local jobs and internships in the Puget Sound area from Tully’s to the Seattle Times. Amerishore is another networking company that partners with colleges like Bellevue College and the University of Washington to build teams of IT students who then provide cost-effective staffing for local companies while gaining experience in the field of information technology. Tracy Derr, the founder and general manager of Amerishore explained further saying, “We group motivated students together and provide them with the necessary training to tackle big projects working for our local customers like Microsoft and Boeing.”
Though Bellevue College’s Job and Networking Fair comes only once a year, the Center for Career Connections encourages students to follow up by checking out CONNECT!, their online job board, or by visiting www.bellevuecollege.edu/careers to learn more about the different workshops, counseling and career-related classes available to all students throughout the year. Why wait? Dream jobs are out there.