Bellevue College’s Annual Job Fair Connects Students and Employers Across Diverse Industries

job fair
Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

Bellevue College hosted its annual Networking and Job Fair on May 8. Providing current students, alumni, and community members an avenue to explore opportunities available in various career fields. Many employers in attendance represented companies in multiple sectors, including non-profits, sustainability, performing arts, insurance, tech, health, automobile, and more. 

“Being in person in these environments gives you the most exposure to [all kinds] of experiences in the workforce,” said Lily, who studies Science at Bellevue College. She came to the job fair hoping to get her “foot in the door” while meeting with recruiters. Abraham, an Ecology freshman, said, “I’m really looking to see what’s out there. I hate the term networking, but just learning what job opportunities exist [and] trying to see if there’s a niche in what I want [to do].”

“I believe in the value of job fairs. I have gone through my fair share of job fairs when I was a student. And I can say just being out there, having that face-to-face engagement is super helpful as far as networking [goes],” said Eric Saniatan, an HR Generalist from HDR Engineering.

Lily approached the event with specific goals in mind, considering not just the job itself but also the company culture and support systems in place. One goal was a supportive environment with “good management, pay, and disability accommodations.” 

Patrick, who’s in the Personal Trainer Certificate Program and looking to make a career shift from Economics, emphasized the importance of knowing whether he can grow within the company once hired. “Is this somewhere that promotes from within? For example, if I’m hired entry-level and want to move up, are there opportunities for that?” Patrick’s emphasis on growth opportunities within a company reflects a common concern among job seekers, especially those looking to make a career shift. 

Isela Torres, a Senior HR Generalist at International Community Health Services, recommended, “When you’re attending career fairs like these, know what you want. If you know you want to go the non-profit route, scout out all the non-profits and get as much information as possible. Take all their flyers and do your own research. But also ask what the turnover rate is, how many positions they have open, and how long people stay there.”

When asked what advice recruiters have for job seekers, they all had similar sentiments. Make yourself stand out by learning about the industry and the particular job you’re applying for. Also, be involved in as many learning opportunities as possible. 

A Senior HR Business Partner from AAA, Andrea Russell, advised, “It is definitely a competitive market. Use those internships or some sort of entry-level job experience while you’re in school to have skills not only from school but all the external environments to show a new position that you really have the skills to do a great job.”

Eric Saniatan said, “Focus on becoming the best version of yourself. For example, our upcoming summer internship program with HDR had 1,300 applicants. So, it was super competitive for roughly about 14 positions. You really have just to make your best version of yourself, whether it’s working on extra projects in school, taking extra classes, or getting any type of certification. Plus, figure out what challenges companies face and find solutions for those challenges. That is definitely something that will help you stand out.”

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