Semi-annual job fair brings employers directly to students

Career Services event connects students to work opportunities



Students converse with potential employers in the Student Commons at the job fair on Oct. 16

Junior Jenna Stetter attended the first New Trier student job fair on Oct. 16 to find her first job. Two days later, she was hired.

Stetter has already worked a couple of shifts and received training at Convito Cafe & Market as a retail clerk.

The job fair was created by Career Services Coordinators Melissa Duffy and Steven Belford, with more than twenty companies attending.

Duffy and Belford are still building Career Services after taking over a year ago, and hope to be able to support students in the development and exploration of careers.

“Part of what we do in career services is help kids find jobs. Not only do we talk about what kids want to do after school as a career, but also right here during school. A lot of students want and need part-time jobs,” said Belford.

Senior Florian Vining has had small jobs in the past, and hoped to find an opportunity at the job fair.

“Trying to find the perfect balance between having a job and actual school work is something I will have to eventually do, so I might as well get experience now. [New Trier] doesn’t make [finding a job] easy when they load you with school work, but then again it is all about figuring it out for later in life,” said Vining.

Students who currently have jobs, like sophomore Louise Kulp, agreed that at times it is difficult to balance scheduled work hours with homework and studying as well as other responsibilities.

Kulp said, “One of the greater benefits of having a job is the income; it gives me a lot more freedom to do things with my friends over the weekend, and it makes my parents trust me more.”

Many students in search of jobs found the job fair to be a way to find employment opportunities.

“I think the job fair was effective. It was easier for me to find a job rather than going to different places to find one,” noted Stetter.

There were numerous positions offered from a variety of industries from restaurants to camp employers. Many of these companies were willing to take first-time workers.

Meatheads General Manager Scott Bailey said, “There are a lot of people interested in first jobs [or] second jobs. It’s a lot of exposure for people who may not know that our company is hiring. [The job fair] is a really good tool to help people find jobs.”

The companies were pleased with the student turnout and the ability to reach a number of prospective employees at one time.

The Noodle Cafe owners, Rob and Ann Garrison, said, “We’ve met a good fifteen people who have come up and given us their name and numbers. I don’t know if it will turn into them working for us, but we are interested in talking to them further.”

Stetter was not the only one who received a job because of the fair.

“We’ve done a follow-up with a lot of the employers and we have heard back that there have been a lot of students already hired, a lot of people interviewed,” said Belford.

Many of the companies have previously employed New Trier students and were happy with the attributes that the student body provided.

Alumnus and Five Seasons Family Sports Club Office Manager, Sheila Johnson said, “I love hiring New Trier kids. “My best employees over the last ten years have been from New Trier. Just good, smart, hard-working kids.”

Career services prepared for the initial job fair by searching for employers who would be good fits for the students.

“We picked up the phone and called a lot of the employers around here,” said Belford. “We talked to kids in our classes and kids in the hallway. We just asked, ‘where are the kind of places you and your friends have jobs?’ We found some of the most popular places kids work and we called all of them.”

Career Services is looking to make the job fair a semi-annual event, with another planned for the spring to help students find summer jobs. All companies that were invited wanted to be part of the next job fair.

“I would recommend going to a job fair if you are planning to get a job, because it is important to understand which opportunities are near school or near home,” said Stetter.