Job Fair gives students insight into finding perfect jobUT held the 2012 Greater Knoxville Job Fair in the UC Ballroom Thursday, giving students the chance to engage with many different potential employers.

Around 40 businesses and organizations had booths at the event. Among them were UT RecSports, Summit Medical Group and KUB.

"I need work," Patrick Brainerd, junior in agricultural economics, said. "The job fair made me aware of the many opportunities out there."

Of the many job applicants they receive, businesses say they like to hire college students and recent graduates for a variety of reasons.

"They are still in learning mode," Sage Kohler, State Farm insurance agent, said. "Their brains are sharp and fresh, as is their outlook on the world."

While most of the companies at the event had only part time jobs available, they all emphasized the value of a previous background with an employer and the advantage of starting in internship and entry-level positions.

"A girl who worked for me in her last year of high school and then went away for college comes back from breaks and still has a job with us," State Farm agent Sarah Johnson said. "I'm more likely to squeeze someone into a schedule or accommodate their needs when a prior business relationship has existed."

Employers also stress the importance of part-time work and internships as a way for a person to find out what they want in a career.

"Jobs in general give you exposure and experience," Knoxville News-Sentinel human resources representative Shelley Bell said. "They help you figure out what you like before committing to a major or career."

UT students recognize not only the benefits of working but also the skills they have to offer to potential employers.

"My experiences at UT as a resident assistant gave me a lot of valuable skills," Brainerd said. "I learned to deal with a variety of different scenarios and people."

A common complaint against working during school is lack of time. Some students worry it will be difficult to balance one's school, work and social life.

"I'm really looking for a job with a lenient schedule," Mary Beth Turner, graduate student in audiology, said. "At this point, I want my employer to be flexible and willing to work with me and my availability."

Businesses have criteria of their own when looking at potential hires.

"I'm looking for someone motivated, driven and dependable," Bell said. "In my line of work, holidays are work days. We have work to do 365 days a year.

"It's essential that our employees are responsible enough to handle this."

The university also had booths at the event, offering on-campus employment in areas such as Aramark Volunteer Dining, the Office of Multicultural Life and RecSports. Many students have on campus jobs because of the proximity to classes and flexible hours.

"Not only is it very convenient for students because of the lack of commute, but there are also so many opportunities," Marketing assistant at RecSports Laura Franklin said. "On campus jobs teach leadership and responsibility while giving students good networking possibilities."

Any student looking for a part-time job should check out the UT Career Services website for valuable information regarding résumé building and job searching at career.utk.edu.