“The Voice” contest and networking opportunity

the voice employeers and pup - cropped

On Feb. 26, Bellevue College hosted an elevator pitch event called “The Voice,” where students, who prior to the event registered for the competition, were given a chance to pitch themselves to business employers present at the event. After the contest, there was also a networking opportunity for the contestants as well as anyone else interested in learning more from potential employers.

The event was funded by the “Fast Track to IT” program, which assists prospective Information Technology students with finding jobs.

About 20 students, or “contestants” had a minute to give five “coaches,” the employers present at the event, an idea of why their skill sets and personality traits could be valuable to a business. The employers judged the contestants based on predetermined  standards.

Contestants gave their speeches in a multitude of ways. Some listed out qualifications and certifications they possessed in addition to job experience.  Other contestants emphasized their leadership ability and well-rounded personalities.

T. J. Bajwa, the event coordinator wrote, “coaches (aka employers) turn their chairs around to the most captivating and attention-seeking […] Elevator Pitches.” Employers turned around on every single contestant. Those who turned around gave both compliments and constructive criticism.

Room N201 was still brimming with students not involved, but hoping to gain real world experience. Despite the feedback given being tailored for the contestants, the job-seeking audience became more accustomed with business demands.

Contestants chose the employer they preferred the most to later have a chat session with. From 12:30 to 2:00, the contestants mingled with the employers asking questions and getting to know their perspectives. Anyone was welcome to hang around and listen.

PC MAG describes Seattle as the 5th most technological city in America. The greater Seattle area is home to Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Expedia, Valve and T-Mobile. Its large, tech-driven population needs to know how to prepare for a future career in the workforce.

One of the employers, Chris Bloomquist explains what exactly employers are looking for. He says “passion is something that’s unequivocally desirable. You can’t teach it, but you know what it looks like when you hear it and when you see it […] whatever you’re going after, lead it with passion, tell me why you’re interested in it, what makes you the best at it.” He continues, saying “what I’m saying isn’t my opinion, it’s actually me reflecting the job market and what my clients are asking me to do.” He suggests asking yourself, “What are employers asking for? Do my classes line up with that? What am I putting on my resume? Am I going to get better in that? Am I involving myself with networking groups focused in these technologies.”

Having a clear objective from the very start and focusing their talents were both popular suggestions made by coaches. Employers especially turned around to contestants who appeared to show audacity.

There were smiles and laughter throughout the entire event. The audience got to spend personal time with the employers, getting a feel for what’s expected of them as job seekers.
Employers gave advice targeted at the contestants but also broad enough to be useful to the rest of the job seekers. The event remained open to everyone. Anyone hoping to establish a career in any field left with advice to achieve their goals.