“It’s our fourth year. We start off with no speakers, put up a white board up and experts in any field can lead a session. It’s a very free flowing event, “ said Anthony Michaelides, director of Career Services at COC.
The style of this event is known as an “unconference”, meaning the attendees create the conference from the moment they arrive.
“People tend to think that you need to know who the speaker will be for each topic and you will need to plan ahead and have a schedule, and for the organizers it can be stressful,” said Douglas Welch, the founder of the Career Camp event. “Because the attendees put together this conference, they come, they sign up either as a speaker, listener, or both and they make it a really successful event.”
More than a 150 people met at the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center to attend this event.
“If someone doesn’t like the lecture that they are in or they want to go to two lectures during the same hour, they can leave early. The attendees come up with their own topics and choose which sessions to go to. That way everyone is happy,” Michaelides said.
Attendees went to as many breakout sessions throughout the day and learned about social media, transferable skills, resumes, being interviewed, networking, and several other topics.
“People get really beat down when they are out of a job for a long period of time and the great thing about the Career Camp is that for one day, these people can be in charge and control their own destiny. By the time these people go home, they are much more energized and ready to find a job,“ Welch said.
Welch shared many different stories about the speakers from past years.
“There were a lot of people who worked abroad last year, and after they went to a couple sessions they decided to create their own session about working abroad. It was great for others to be able to hear from someone who have experience in the field, “ Welch said.
Speakers shared how important networking and keeping social networking pages clean because employers look to pages like Facebook and Twitter to learn more about a potential employee.
“You never know where your next job will come from, it can just as easily come from the guy sitting next to you at Starbucks as it could from the corporate manager in an office,” Welch said. “You want to have a little bit of mindshare in other peoples minds— if you meet people and make connections, they may think of you when they need to hire someone. “
The camp began at 9 a.m. and ran through 3:30 p.m. with the majority of attendees staying until the end of the day.
“Attendees can say they enjoyed this conference and they got to accomplish what they wanted while meeting new people, networking, and learning new techniques to find a job,” Michaelides said.