Experience Before the Interview: Gannon University Pioneers New Job Development Initiative

Posted: April 25, 2017

For many college students, the first encounter they might have with a future employer is at a formal job interview. But many students wish they had a bit more practice before entering the job market.

Gannon students will receive that experience in an innovative new program begun this year by the University's career exploration and development department. Erin Hart, assistant director of employer relations, piloted a program that offers Gannon students a chance to shadow local employers to explore opportunities for both college students and graduated professionals.

"We take a group of students to a specific employer for a two- to three-hour visit on-site where they can get an overview of the organization, a tour and a chance to interact with Gannon alumni there," Hart said. "These visits are great for students, but they also serve as recruiting events for companies."

Some of the companies that have participated include the Bethesda Trinity Center, LORD Corp, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle, Wegmans and the downtown location of the YMCA of Greater Erie

Hart and her department offer traditional career advising services, such as resume reviews and mock interviews, as well as more than two dozen on-campus recruiting events this year.

New to the arsenal is College Central Network, an online portal that helps connect students with potential employers. Every Gannon student is given an account and alumni are offered accounts as well, and to date, more than 300 employers have signed up.

The program is starting to become noticed by other college career services professionals. Hart and Brian Collingwood, Gannon's director of career services, will deliver a presentation about the program and their new employer relations efforts at the National Association of Colleges and Employers conference and expo in June.

"The goal is to brand the program and increase awareness and participation among Gannon, and also to increase employers' engagement with students, so that students can make informed career decisions and find a career they can enjoy," Hart said. "The earlier that students can start interacting, the more knowledge they gain and more prepared they can be to make career decisions."