Blair Oaks High School students picked up some career and interviewing advice and explored their options at Thursday's career fair featuring 55 local groups.
Unlike many career fairs in which tables are set up for each job in a large space such as a gym, this career fair had different jobs in each classroom that students could visit every 25 minutes for a total of six sessions.
"This is your future. You get to be explorers today and explore different opportunities that lay before you," Renee Maples, a college and career adviser at Blair Oaks said she told the students.
Maples said the format offers students the chance to ask questions and go more in depth on each job field.
Brittany Neier offered students a dual perspective through her experience as a zoologist and bank analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
One student asked about whether a small animal veterinary career path might look similar in terms of education to Neier's path to zoology. She said it would be, but there would be some differences.
Though her two careers seem quite different, Neier said she learned skills at the zoo that transferred to her job at the Federal Reserve.
She had skills in working with the community, gathering data and communication.
She said students should also keep an open mind on where they want to live.
"Don't be nervous if you're looking for a career, and it doesn't line up with the area that you want to live in, " Neier said.
Maybe a job's in a small town or big city, but you don't know if you like it until you try living there, she said.
She had a friend that worked at the Federal Reserve that reached out to see if she might apply to work there, Neier said, but she wasn't sure at first that she wanted to work in a bank.
"Keep this in mind when you interview: not only are you getting interviewed to see if you're a good fit, but you're interviewing to see if the organization or company is a good fit for you," Neier said.
She said listening to her gut serves her well.
There were presenters from careers in state government, real estate, computer programming, graphic design, law enforcement, health care, the military, finance, marketing, fitness and athletic training, electrical work, architecture and engineering, cosmetology, education, pharmacy and conservation, among others.
Lindsey Autenrieth and Erin Haslag, who work in human resources for Capital Holding Group, presented on the wide variety of opportunities in construction and heavy equipment.
Through the various divisions of Capital, students can work as deckhands or boat pilots, work in a sand plant or quarry, work in quality control, pave roads or build bridges, haul loads in vehicles or work as welders.
They also spoke on Capital Academy, a program that one of the students in the session was interviewing for.
Capital Academy is open to graduating seniors. Seniors apply for the six-week program of paid training in which they can explore Capital's divisions, visit job sites and earn certifications. Eventually, they can interview for the jobs they're most interested in, and if they're given an offer, they can begin working.
"Our whole point of this academy is to grow you and then ... pull you into a position with us," Haslag said.