Students and teachers alike gathered together for the prospects of employment at JSU’s second-ever Reverse Career Fair on February 5 at Leone Cole Auditorium.
The event was set up by JSU Career Services, which consists of Ms. Becca Turner, Director, Ms. Lola Johnston, Counselor, and Tawana Roberts, Secretary, as the three full-time staff.
Career fairs have been put on at JSU for decades, but this is only the second year in which a reverse career fair has been attempted.
Turner explained the concept: “We use a flipped concept, which means that the students set up a table, or booth, and showcase and market themselves using their exhibit, as opposed to the recruiters setting up a display, and the students coming to the recruiters’ tables,” she says.
“Basically, the students do the talking and the recruiters do the walking.”
Students’ satisfaction was also an important factor, said Miss Turner: “… they had expectations from the past career fairs that I think weren’t met, so we flipped it, and as you can see, they are showing up and putting on a great display.”
The event was made up of 55 education students who were either December 2013 graduates, or Spring 2014 seniors. Participation was entirely voluntary. “Right now all these students are in their internship, their practicum… so they are excused from that day but they are not required to be here,” said Turner.
Turner noted the improvements made to the event compared to last year, such as giving recruiters a map of the layout of the room, as well as important information about each booth.
The first event of the day was the main browse session from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., where recruiters from different schools visited the booths of each student. Each booth represented the capabilities and personalities of the student.
“I put on my board here things that are important to me to keep in mind throughout my teaching career,” said Christa Watts, an Elementary Education major.
“I had a space theme, and instead of putting my resume on a board I decided to show the recruiters what it might be like to step inside my classroom. So I had centers, and I had a technology center with my I Pad that had a few pictures and a lesson plan that I had previously written,” said Marie Cornutt, another Elementary Education major.
After lunch, tables were set up where students could sit down and talk to recruiters from over 30 school systems from all over Alabama and even Georgia. Recruiters were also available for interviews.
The fair received a warm reception from recruiters.
“I like the reverse because it gives students an opportunity to display work samples and more importantly as we peruse through we know what we are looking for… I can go directly to that individual and begin the conversation and kind of get an idea of who I’m talking to,” said Michael Turner, principal at Leeds High School.
Todd Haynie, principal at William L. Radney School in Alexander City, was equally enthusiastic:
“I really love the displays, to see what the students have been working on throughout their time here at JSU. I like seeing the portfolios and just in general meeting the candidates.”