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Connecting future engineers with their future employers at virtual career fair

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Dec 21, 2020

COVID-19 can’t stop the 5th Annual Engineering and Technology Internship and Career Fair from taking place on Friday, Jan. 8. The event, which is hosted by the College of Lake County (CLC) Career and Job Placement Center (CJPC), will allow students and other jobseekers to meet with multiple employers from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. without even leaving their homes because, as you may expect, the yearly gathering has gone virtual. 

2018 Job Fair“We felt it was important to move forward with the internship and career fair because we know that, despite what is happening, there is still a need for this talent,” said Workforce Development Manager Gina Smith with the CJPC. “Students in the engineering and tech fields play a role in how our workforce moves into the future. This event shows both employers and job-seekers that CLC is standing firm with them, and together we will get through these tough times.”

Photo: a 2018 career fair, held in person at the Grayslake Campus

Though safety may be the primary factor in holding the event virtually, there are other added benefits. For example, potential applicants from across the region, and even the country, can attend. This gives Lake County the opportunity to attract talent who may have not otherwise considered the area for employment. It also allows companies with smaller Human Resources (HR) departments to take part where they may not have had the manpower to cover an in-person event. Vernon Hills based Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. has participated in every fair so far, and there’s a reason they keep coming back. 

“We’ve been successful in the past at finding interns at the CLC career fair and, in fact, we’ve hired a couple as full-time employees,” says HR Manager Anika Moore. 

Moore’s company is looking to fill several intern positions and a future civil engineer job through this year’s event. Though it will be the first time this career fair has been held virtually it will not be Moore’s first virtual career fair. Having taken part in several over the last few months, she has some tips for prospective hires. 

“Make sure you’ve done some research about the companies you’re interested in and come prepared with a question or two. It is helpful and shows your interest in a specific company,” said Moore. “Also dressing for the part. I’ve seen candidates who, because it’s a virtual environment, they think it’s a little more casual, but this is your opportunity to make that first impression and show you’re taking this seriously.” 

It’s an occasion Smith says everyone in the industry should consider, especially CLC students. “I can’t stress enough the opportunity that is packaged in an event like this. While companies generally don’t come and knock on your door, this is about as close as you will get. A reminder to CLC students and alumni to reach out to a career specialist for a resume review.” 

About College of Lake County: 

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.