The South Dakota Association of College Career Centers (SDACCC) Board held its 31st annual B.I.G. (Business, Industry and Government) Career Fair in Sioux Falls on March 2. The event was held at the Ramkota Hotel and is South Dakota’s largest career fair.
Over 350 students and candidates attended the fair to meet with the 137 employers present. Students from 15 institutions across South Dakota were in attendance. Companies included a variety of career interests and employers across the surrounding states including Avera, Great West Casualty and the USD Foundation.
Ashlin Schoenfelder, an employer relations coordinator and career advisor at USD, is on the SDACCC board and helped register employers and organize this year’s event with other college career advisors across the state. Schoenfelder is also the employer relations chair of the B.I.G. Career Fair.
“All of the South Dakota colleges, institutions and universities have career centers and help make up the SDACCC board. We all work together on this event to keep our organization available,” Schoenfelder said.
Schoenfelder said the fair not only welcomed undergraduate students, but also those in graduate school and anyone else in the public. Those who pre-registered were able to receive a free headshot.
“This is a really good opportunity to have that face-to-face interaction and meet with employers. Handing them your resume, shaking their hand and getting to know them in person is a great way to meet employers,” Schoenfelder said.
The South Dakota Teacher Career Fair simultaneously took place. Over 65 school districts from surrounding states were in attendance to meet with education students interested in full time job positions or internships. USD’s Heather Johnson serves as the employer relations chair for the teacher career fair.
In 2012, the two fairs were combined into a one-day event in an attempt to reach a larger audience. Schoenfelder said the teacher career fair celebrated its 36th year of operation last week.
“Even if you’re not looking to get a job or internship right now, this is still a great opportunity to network with employers and other career professionals,” Schoenfelder said.
An appearance was also made at the fair by four LinkedIn professionals from Omaha, Nebraska who presented three separate coaching sessions throughout the day. Schoenfelder said their mission was to share tips and tricks about the LinkedIn app with individuals to enhance their LinkedIn profiles. The team also offered one-on-one profile reviews for attendees at no cost.
“LinkedIn graciously volunteered their time to come to our event. People can bring their resumes and all of our career advisors at the fair can help with resume reviews too,” Schoenfelder said.
Aside from being the largest career fair in South Dakota, Schoenfelder said the event was a great opportunity to meet with several employers and see what jobs and internships were available.
“This is honestly one of the best opportunities to meet employers in one convenient location. They are available to connect with students and tell them about their internships and jobs. It can open your eyes for something you might not have known was available before,” Schoenfelder said.