25th annual job fair set to start Thursday at Parkland

CHAMPAIGN — About 75 employers from East Central Illinois will take applications and answer questions Thursday at the 25th annual Parkland Job Fair.

The job fair is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. in the gymnasium of the college, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C. The fair is open to the general public, as well as to Parkland students.

Sandy Spencer, director of the college's Career Center, suggests job seekers show up around 3 to 3:30 p.m., to avoid the crowds that typically show up at the beginning of the fair and at the end of the work day.

In past years, health care has been heavily represented, but this year, Spencer said she feels there's "better variety" to the employers.

Some of the area's largest employers will be there, including the University of Illinois, Amdocs, Busey Bank, Carle, Christie Clinic, FedEx Ground, Frasca International, Hobbico, Horizon Hobby, Jeld-Wen, Plastipak Packaging and Provena Health.

Also represented will be retail stores, police departments and correctional facilities, social service agencies, government agencies and branches of the military.

Though many employers are from Champaign-Urbana, others come from Dan- ville, Rantoul, Gibson City, Paxton, Decatur and surrounding cities.

The job fair is jointly sponsored by Parkland College and The News-Gazette. A full list of participating employers appears online at www2.parkland.edu/careercenter/jobfairinfo.htm.

Spencer recommends that job seekers dress professionally and bring a portfolio containing copies of their resumes, as well as a pencil and pen.

She suggested people take 10 to 15 minutes to get a feel for the mix of employers before approaching individual booths.

Spencer said the fair is a chance to make contacts and get information about jobs, but the real work begins after the fair.

That's when job seekers take business cards they collected at the fair and follow up with employers. She encouraged job seekers to ask employers for specific contact names.

Surveys taken after a previous fair indicated that participating employers extended more than 300 interviews to people they met at the fair, Spencer said.

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