Job fair draws eager students

Marie Smallwood,
Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development Center, emphasizes the importance of using Handshake and students keeping their profiles up to date.
Photo Submitted by Audriana Thomas

Eighteen tables made up two rows, which spanned the length of Florida A&M’s Grand Ballroom on Tuesday. At each table sat a representative from each department at FAMU that had a student job-opening to advertise. Surrounding those tables were hopeful Rattlers ranging from freshmen to graduate students, wanting to fill those spots.

FAMU’s first On-Campus Student Employment Fair was hosted by the Student Government Association and the Career and Professional Development Center.

The fair highlighted paid and unpaid jobs, as well as work study jobs and on-campus positions that were non work-study. The jobs were in departments such as Student Housing, Metz Culinary, etc.

Marie Smallwood, assistant director at the Career and Professional Development Center, shared how the fair was a combination of several projects. The first project being the effort to make the job search and application process digital through Handshake.

The goal being to move as many of the job postings on Handshake as possible. To assist the departments in this process, the Career and Professional Development Center has created video tutorials to walk through the process of creating a profile for a job posting.

To bring the fair into existence, Smallwood spent time making phone calls to each department and oftentimes being transferred from one person to the next until she was able to connect with the right person.

“It wasn’t so much that the process was difficult or that there was resistance, it was really just making sure the departments understood what we were trying to do,” said Smallwood.

Several departments found the request puzzling due to the fact that work-study jobs can already be found on iRattler. However, once it was explained that the fair would highlight internships as well as on campus non-work study positions, many departments were eager to participate.

Deputy Secretary of Student Welfare, Shaanacee Wilson, is credited with having the original idea to have the fair. Wilson credits social media for the epiphany.

“I saw a lot of students complaining saying, ‘I need a job, I need a job.’ A lot of students are used to working when they are home. When I was home, I worked three jobs, so I was used to working. College is expensive and most students complain about jobs not paying,” said the sophomore.

The fair could not have come at a better time . A recent Pew Research Center report said “about one-third of adults under age 30 have student loan debt.” The financial need for students is growing as school expenses increase. Luckily for some students, Florida A&M is seeking to assist with a temporary solution. The school is hoping to host another on-campus job fair in the early part of the spring semester.