Reverse Job Fair connects students to employers

The tables were turned as 17 students from Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond High School participated in a reverse job fair where employers stopped by the students’ booths to learn more about their qualifications and interests.

A reverse job fair gives the job seekers, in this case students, an opportunity to present themselves to employers. Using display boards and resumes, the students creatively displayed and presented their talents to employers who had the chance to circulate among the candidate booths to introduce themselves and talk to candidates.

“We identified a select group of students who might be considered as having barriers to employment to participate,” stated Amy Jaeschke, FDSH Work-based Learning Coordinator. “These students have the skills employers are looking for, but they might not show up on their resumes. We decided a reverse job fair would provide employers the opportunity to meet the students in person to learn about their abilities, and how they could fit into a company’s culture.”

Approximately 25 businesses participated in the first-time event.

“This event offers a real advantage to the kids and is beneficial to everyone involved,” said Matthew Stephan, Mill Team Leader for Cargill. “The students were well prepared to sell themselves in front of adults, which is one of the most important skills they can learn. For employers, it offered a chance meet and talk with potential future employees.”

The students agreed the event was worthwhile.

“It’s a cool event and way to look for work,” Isaiah Willams, a junior at FDSH, said. “I wasn’t sure where or how to start looking so this offered me a chance to learn how to talk to employers and the importance of a firm handshake and eye contact. The event made me comfortable talking to employers because they approached me.”

Several students were encouraged to apply at businesses and a couple were offered positions. Kaleb Hammersland, a FDSH junior, was one of the students offered a position.

“I’m excited about the possibility of working at Fort Frenzy because I’d be working with kids, which is what I want to do,” Hammersland said.