The Greater Mankato website reported a 5.7% unemployment rate in November of 2009 and it was 6.0% in December of 2009, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. While these statistics show an unfortunate increase in unemployment in our area, the number of attendees at the Rasmussen College career fair was much less than expected. With such a high unemployment rate, there should have been more than 126 attendees at this career fair and far more than 85 non-students. Where was everyone - unemployed and employed? While the easy answer would be poor advertisement of the fair, this is not the case at all. If you listen to the radio, read the newspaper, browse the Home Magazine, or go grocery shopping, etc., you heard about the career fair.
According to Amy Ites, Career Services Advisor at Rasmussen College, the career fair was advertised on all local radio stations, in the Mankato Free Press, Home Magazine, local partnerships, and through word of mouth. Amy also utilized corporate partners to bring in local companies and community relationships for charitable and non-profit organizations.
I went to the career fair for networking purposes and found myself taken back by the number of tables set up for local companies and the vast differences in the types of companies displayed throughout the career fair. There was also several non-profit organizations providing information on local volunteer opportunities throughout the greater Mankato area.
While you may not have been in the job searching market, the career fair was a great opportunity to network and get to know your local companies. Did you know Spherion has a local office in Mankato? They had a list of job opportunities and the two individuals at their booth were taking resumes and speaking with potential clients to better understand the career needs of the Mankato area. Several local companies were meeting with individuals in order to put a face to the resume and pair individuals with possible career opportunities.
Snell Motors was on-hand to accept resumes for various job positions. Jennifer Faust indicated Snell Motors would take any resume and work with each of their departments to ensure the best people are hired in the right areas. While you may not have sales experience, your resume may have shown you're the right fit for their finance department or car wash area. The possibilities were open, if you just would have been there.
While the economy is not showing any significant improvements since December of 2009, it was imperative that our community was in need of a career fair like that at Rasmussen College. The team that put this fair together was top notch. They know the needs of our community, they are well connected to the local businesses, they have partnered with many organizations in the Mankato area, and they have several years of experience in guiding and leading individuals to meet their highest potential. So many great resources - right in the Mankato area!
Whether or not you are a student or non-student, if you want to grow in your career, it is imperative you attend the next career fair and network, network, network.