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May 10, 2019

Nontraditional event format facilitates career conversations

Picture this: A career fair where employers do the walking and students do the talking. Sounds like the perfect, low-pressure networking experience, right? At Johnson County Community College, this is more than a lofty idea; it’s a reality brought to life by our Computer Science & Information Technology (CSIT) team.

Reverse, reverse! 

On April 19, CSIT held its annual reverse career fair focused on “Career Conversations Made Easy.” The event was attended by 22 local companies and approximately 35 students representing JCCC's Computer Information Systems, Software Development, Health Information Systems, Game Development, Data Analytics, IT/Networking, and Web Development & Digital Media programs.

According to James Hopper, Professor and Chair of Web Development & Digital Media, the reverse career fair gives students the chance to build meaningful connections. “It’s an opportunity for the employers to see what high-quality students we have, and for our students to find out what great employers are out there,” he said.

With polished résumés and projects in hand, students prepared for potential employers to approach. In addition to asking about prospective employment opportunities, students inquired about company culture, skills needed for success and more. Above all, students and employers alike said they appreciated the format of the reverse career fair.

“The people are really nice and it hasn’t been intimidating at all to talk to prospective employers. They’ve made themselves available in a really conversational and enjoyable way.” — Robert Conklin, student

“This is actually my first reverse career fair. What I like about it is we are able to go directly to the student and build that one-on-one connection with them and get a little more information versus just having a few seconds when people come up to us.” — Elizabeth Goodwin, Thruline Marketing

“Reverse careers fairs like this are absolutely critical. They help fuel our internship program.  We have a very strong technology base here in Kansas City, but there is a lot of demand and oftentimes not enough supply. This helps us get in on the ground level with students who are still continuing their studies, build those relationships and hope they’ll come see what we’re all about.” — Robert Tipton, Hyland Software

Success is just a connection away

When it comes to networking and preparing to step into the workforce, you never know when a conversation can turn into an opportunity. Just ask JCCC student Angela Sherrick.

“I attended the career fair in November of last year," she said. “At that career fair I was able to make a connection with a local user experience firm. I followed up with that connection and was eventually offered a position with them.”

Learn more about CSIT

Our CSIT department offers courses in:

If you’re detail-oriented and interested in combining creativity and technology, call or email our Admissions team today.