Newswise — MOUNT VERNON, Iowa - The Cornell College Berry Career Institute is working to ensure students have a lot of career opportunities at their fingertips, even during a pandemic.

During Block 2, career staff organized an online recruiting event with 55 employers in attendance. The event was organized with two other local colleges, and students signed up for one-on-one time or group visits with employers.

“Nearly all of the companies in attendance were hiring for internships and full-time hires,” said Senior Director of the Berry Career Institute Jodi Schafer. “There’s no doubt that students will be entering a very different job market this year, so anytime you can meet that many employers who have jobs available, it’s smart to take advantage of that opportunity.”

While online recruitment fairs may not be preferred by some, organizers and students say it comes with many benefits. 

Senior Austin Thomas, who is studying financial analytics, spoke with several employers. He’s still in talks with them about a few openings, including a possible spring internship and job. 

“I was able to select specific times to speak one-on-one with the individual employers,” Thomas said. “It was a better environment with no distractions.”

He suggests that students should take part in these recruiting events as much as possible in the future, whether online or in-person.

“It is definitely worth your time. They are there to talk to students just like you so use the opportunity and take advantage of it,” Thomas said.

There are many steps students can take in addition to attending recruiting events. Here’s Schafer’s advice about what students should be doing right now to prepare for their future, whether they’re a first-year student or seniors. 

First-year students should be exploring and trying new things such as student organizations, work-study opportunities, sports, music, theater, or art, and building connections with faculty and staff. This is when they build their base so they have experiences to draw upon and people they can count on as their college experience progresses. This also helps them figure out their likes and dislikes so they can identify a major and potential career goal.  

Sophomores should continue their involvement in activities and deepening their relationships with faculty and staff. They should also consider starting a resume if they don’t have one and consulting with Berry Career Institute staff for suggestions. Some sophomores may be considering whether an internship or research experience might be a possibility this year. If so, they can consult with the Ingenuity in Action office or Berry Career Institute to explore ideas and learn how to obtain these positions. 

Juniors should begin to seek out meaningful summer opportunities and experiential opportunities whether that’s through an internship block or an Ingenuity in Action activity. These experiences continue to help them figure out what they want to do and provide valuable experience that employers and grad schools seek.

Seniors should start the year prepared to research deadlines for grad school or full-time jobs after graduation so they have ample time to prepare application materials or take grad school entrance exams. Now is the time to think about ways to further develop competencies sought by employers in areas such as technology, communication, writing, and creative problem-solving.

The Berry Career Institute is holding on-going meetings and workshops online each block. 

About Cornell College: 

Cornell College, a selective liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, has a student population of around 1,000 students. Cornellians have been living, learning, and teaching on the block plan, One Course At A Time, for 40 years. This style of learning allows students to fully immerse themselves in their chosen topic of study, including taking field trips, diving into research, creating an art exhibit, or exploring issues in the local community. With students from nearly 50 states and 16 foreign countries, as well as renowned faculty, speakers, and entertainers, Cornell offers the world from its campus.

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