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The crowd of mostly college students, dressed to impress, went from table to table in hopes of finding a job.
Campbellsville University hosted a career fair Wednesday in the Student Activities Center on the main campus.
CU's Office of Career Services sponsored the fair, which Director Teresa Elmore says was a service to students, graduates and alumni seeking full and part-time employment opportunities. The public was also invited.
Representatives from 38 companies set up booths at the fair, Elmore said, and 283 people attended.
Of those, she said, 156 were CU students and graduates and 127 were people from the community. Several of the 156, she said, were students from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and Elizabethtown Community & Technical College in Elizabethtown.
Last year's fair attracted 193 people.
On Friday, Elmore said she is still processing questionnaires about the event but has so far received positive comments.
Two of the companies who had booths at the fair, she said, have set follow-up interviews for this week.
One response Elmore received states, "We're the ones who should be thanking you. We received 29 resumes from very good candidates and sent at least 40 more [applications] home with people."
Elmore said she thought the number of companies with booths at the fair might be down because of hiring freezes and cutbacks, but she was pleased at the number that attended.
"The job market being one of the worst since the Great Depression means that graduates must start networking earlier than ever and with as many relative contacts as possible.
"Competition for jobs is tough and graduates must sell themselves, their education, skills and work and volunteer experiences as valuable assets to the company for which they are applying."
And Shawnta Vaughn, who graduated from Campbellsville University last December with a criminal justice degree, knows that all too well.
She said she hasn't had any luck finding a job since she graduated and that's why she attended the job fair.
Elmore says graduates should know that competition for jobs today is fierce.
"Graduates need to realize that if they do not already have a job, it could take a minimum of six to nine months to find a job after they graduate," she said. "The whole key is networking, networking and more networking."
That's one the reasons why Katie Page, a Campbellsville University senior who will graduate next month, attended Wednesday's fair. She said she was hoping to meet employers to help her get a jumpstart on her career.
Many employers at the fair accepted resumes, and Elmore hopes that several people will be interviewed for positions soon.
The Office of Career Services receives and posts job openings free of charge. The notices are posted on campus bulletin boards and on the Campbellsville University Career Services job postings page, which is another resource for students involved in online job searches.
For more information on the fair or upcoming seminars or workshops, contact the Office of Career Services at 789-5192 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.