Amanda Betts – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa.- Marissa Kealey, one of 10 who competed for prizes and bragging rights in multiple categories, such as resume-building and interviewing, won Clarion University’s annual Hired or Fired event that took place in the Clarion University Theatre Nov. 30.
The event was hosted by fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. Many on-campus organizations sponsored the event, including the Society for the Advancement of Management, Advisory Board for Leadership and Engagement, Delta Zeta, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Society of Human Resource Management, Bacchus Gamma, Zeta Tau Alpha and Clarion University Student Senate.
Money donated as part of the voting process was given to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, an organization that provides guidance for kids in the community and helps to put them through school. A representative from the organization, Jessica Walters, was present at the event.
Some of the competition’s categories were pre-judged, such as the resume, LinkedIn profile and interview portion. There were still multiple challenges to be shown at the event, however, and contestants were judged by a panel of professionals from the university and surrounding community.
Contestants were asked to present “elevator speeches,” short introductions about themselves that can be delivered in the time of an elevator ride, in front of the panel and audience members. They were also judged on their professional attire and were given on-stage interview questions.
In between challenges, the event hosts discussed different aspects of being a professional individual and being a qualified candidate for a potential job.
Erin Lewis, the assistant director for the Center for Career and Professional Development, as well as one of the emcees of Hired or Fired, explained the importance of a strong resume.
A representative from the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union discussed financial responsibility, credit and how students should always be aware of and keep track of their spending.
After the challenges were completed, audience members voted in the popular vote category by placing money in a jar labeled with their chosen contestant’s name. The panel of judges then tallied their own scores, and awarded prizes to students in many different categories.
First place winner Kealey was the contestant sponsored by Student Senate.
The winner of the popular vote was Jessica Kalmar, who was sponsored by Delta Zeta. Other category winners included Corey Horgan, sponsored by the Society of Human Resource Management; Stephanie Kulikowski sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha, Shelby Pepmeyer and Morgan Woodin.
Lewis encouraged students of all academic years and majors to attend future Hired or Fired events, as she feels that the benefits are extremely significant. In addition to thinking it is important for all students to attend the event, she also thinks they should all try to enter the competition as well.
This year’s participants have business, education and communication backgrounds.
“Preparing for a job search tends to be very stressful and intimidating,” Lewis said.
She feels the importance of the event is providing students with a safe and fun environment in which to learn more about being a successful individual in the professional world.