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Face-to-face meetings a key bonus at Lourdes' job fair


Scores of college seniors attended a job fair on Friday at Lourdes University.

The Blade/Lori King
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As another wave of Generation Y college graduates are released into the labor market, universities are teaching the mobile-device crazed students that there is no replacement for face-to-face networking to landing a job.

“As early as we can get students in front of employers, the better,” said Andrea Domachowski, director of career services at Lourdes University.

Lourdes, along with a consortium of 20 colleges and universities in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan called Collegiate Employ-Net, brought employers and job seekers together for a job fair on Friday at the university’s Franciscan Center. It's the first time the Sylvania university hosted the fair. 

“We want to get seniors exposed at this fair,” she said. “LinkedIn is great, but it cannot replace that face-to face time. We told students to use the site to research companies.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the job fair

More than 80 employers from the Toledo area and Ohio had booths set up at the fair, each from various fields from marketing, communication, nursing, financial, law enforcement, and manufacturing industries. About 250 students attended.

Ms. Domachowski said students were taught to market themselves using an “elevated pitch,” or a 30-second commercial which features their skills and explains what they can offer an employer. The aim was to promote full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities, she said.

“There is a 57 percent conversion rate from internship to full-time jobs, and employers would most likely hire more of those but can’t because of budget,” she said, grabbinga statistic from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Defiance College senior Jessica Shaffer, 22, represented that statistic. The business administration major has a job with Trufast Construction Fastening Solutions in Defiance, but said the job fair is a way to learn how to interact with employers, helping her building communication skills.

“This (job fair) allows a company to place their branding out there and allows people to become familiar with a company,” said Sharita Huddleston, ProMedica sourcing specialist.

ProMedica, which encourages candidates to apply online, wants the in-person engagement too, she said.. The company talked to candidates about positions in nursing, environmental science, and entry-level administrative jobs.

Tim Mulroy, human resources director for JC & Associates, said the company is looking for hardworking people “willing to better themselves.” Based in Sylvania, the sales and marketing company cast a broad net, interviewing people outside of business disciplines whom it “can train.”

Likewise some students did not pigeonhole themselves to one field.

Senior Matt Johnston, 39, a business administration student at Lourdes, was open to jobs in business management, communications, sales, and marketing.

“With my major, I can go into any business discipline,” he said.

Ms. Domachowski said the average job search can last six to nine months. For certain fields, it is an employee's market, such as the large demand for people with a background in information technology, supply chain management, and nursing or healthcare. In the public relations and communications fields, networking is important. In general one's willingness to move may assist in finding a job faster, she said. 

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso. 

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