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The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

CAFES career fair expands to 2 days

Over 100 organizations have registered for the multi-day event
File Photo

The CAFES Career Fair is now two days long to open more opportunities to CAFES students, assistant director of Employer Engagement Becky Pistulka said.  

The career fair will be held at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Club 71 October 3 and 4 from noon to 4 p.m. There are 109 companies registered for Day One and 72 for Day Two. The number steadily increases until registration closes the week before the event. 

This year is the first year the event has been hosted for two days. Due to the number of interested vendors and attempts to accommodate students’ schedules, has been moved to two separate days, Pistulka said. 

The school faces a few challenges while hosting this event. The goal is to get the best recruiters for students. Pistulka said finding a date that does not conflict with other competing school’s career fairs is challenging.  

“The fair has consistently been the first Wednesday in October,” Pistulka said. “This year, we also wanted it on Tuesday because the dairy students leave for the World Dairy Expo that week.” 

Students are encouraged to go to the fair on both days to network. Pistulka wants them to attend the days that are specific to their major, but each day offers different opportunities.  

Free professional portraits will be offered at the event for students.  

Students should attend the event because of the opportunity to network with industry professionals and find internships and potential jobs, Pistulka said. Those people could be students, future co-workers, bosses and competition. With the ongoing trend of young people changing jobs more frequently, Pistulka believes this is CAFES students’ chance to network across various agriculture-related companies.  

“A lot of freshmen tell me they won’t go, and no one will give me a job,” Pistulka said. “I tell them they are considered a sophomore next summer, and that’s prime time for an internship!’ 

Pistulka encourages students to use Handshake. You can register for the event and see all employers attending the fair while using filters for students’ specific majors, locations, and types of jobs they are looking for. Pistulka suggests generating a top 10 list of who students are most interested in visiting before getting to the fair.  

Pistulka encourages students to practice a brief introduction and take notes on what intrigues them most about a company of interest and use it as their opening pitch.  

Once at the fair, students will use their phones to scan a QR code and are given a name tag with a colored dot. Pistulka suggests bringing a binder with at least 20 resumes to hand out to vendors. Students should have a plan for who they want to visit with. Using their top 10 list, Pistulka recommends that students start with 10 and work up to their first choice.  

Pistulka said: “Warm up throughout the fair so that by the time you get to one, you are comfortable and energetic.” 

Pistulka says it draws vendors to attend when prompted about the job shortage. At least 25 new vendors registered for Day One and at least 15 for Day Two have not yet attended this career fair.  

Pistulka said: “Businesses want engaged students who have done their research on companies. They want students who have intelligent questions and are confident in their abilities.” 

Shane Swedlund of Raven Industries confirms businesses like his are looking to hire great team members who are supportive and willing to contribute. He wants motivated employees who are willing to take ownership of the project to progress things forward to completion. Raven Industries offers a wonderful internship program and overall experience, Swedlund said. The internships have real project work embedded within the development of teams to experience the full design and development process.  

“Every intern is assigned a mentor,” Swedlund said. “Our Mentors are awesome!” 

Swedlund advises students to prepare for the career fair. He says to ensure student’s resumes are current and without errors. Students should do their research on key companies that spark their interest. Swedlund wants students to be ready to discuss their interests, accomplishments, project work and skills.  

Swedlund believes it is highly valuable to network with many companies.  

“Even if things don’t work out initially, those connections are valuable for future opportunities, Swedlund said. “Internships are valuable because they are a great way to experience a company’s culture to find out if they are the kind of company you would like to work with for a career.” 

Megan Stiefvater, an Agriculture Science and Leadership major at the CAFES College, plans to attend the upcoming career fair. Stiefvater is preparing for the fair by attending the resume blitz which she also attended last year and received help making her resume more presentable.  

Stiefvater said, “I am going to the career fair to be able to explore all of the different opportunities within the industry, such as internships and potential future jobs.” 

By attending the career fair, Stiefvater hopes to find an internship for the summer. She is excited to talk to industry professionals to learn about their roles in the industry and its possibilities.  

Becky Pistulka wants students to know they have opportunities outside of the career fair. The Jackrabbit Suit-Up Online Event runs from August 19th to October 29th. SDSU students can order online at JCPenney for 30% off men’s and women’s career dress apparel.  

Pistulka strives for the event to have a professional dress code without jogging pants or jeans. She said it is important to present themselves in their best light.  

Pistulka said, “Why would they hire you if you’re not showing your best self?” 

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