SEMA News—May 2017


By Katie Carson

Connecting Higher Education to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

Career fairs bring awareness to your company’s brand and are a great recruitment resource. SEMA can connect your company to career fairs happening at your local higher-education institutions.
SEMA’s education team has a new initiative to connect automotive aftermarket companies with higher-education institutions. Through this grassroots approach to reaching students who are beginning to look for careers, SEMA aims to introduce the vast number of job functions available in the automotive aftermarket industry. There are a number of opportunities for companies to have a presence in their local schools and communities through SEMA by participating in career fairs, holding student interview days on campus, hosting students for a facility tour or giving a presentation in a classroom setting.

Career Fairs

Career fairs bring awareness to a company’s brand and promote the automotive aftermarket to the next generation of employees and consumers. Participation also increases your company’s talent pipeline by connecting with young job seekers. Career fairs are held at thousands of institutions across the nation each year, and SEMA can connect you to upcoming fairs being held in your area.

A successful student career fair was held at the 2016 SEMA Show. Forty-two companies participated, and more than 500 students from the SEMA Show Student Program attended. Companies were able to help inspire the next generation, promote their brands and increase their network of talent. Although those students had an existing interest in the automotive industry, they were able to better appreciate the diversity of career paths and connect with potential employers.

SEMA will again host a career fair at the 2017 SEMA Show and launch a similar event at the 2017 PRI Show in conjunction with a student breakfast, where more than 400 students are expected to

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming career fair, contact SEMA Career Services Manager Amelia Zwecher at

10 Career Fair Best Practices for Employers

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Ensure that everything you need is packed: branded tablecloth, pens, printed promotional materials, etc.
  3. Practice your company elevator speech.
  4. Ask students for their opinions and give them advice.
  5. Decide if you’re accepting resumes during the event.
  6. Know which positions you are actively seeking to fill.
  7. Bring your business cards and wear a nametag.
  8. Consider giveaways that may attract job seekers to your booth.
  9. Respond to inquiries as soon as possible after the event.
  10. Prepare questions designed to pre-qualify applicants.

Facility Tours

Another way to connect with students and potential employees is to schedule a student facility tour at your business. A common uncertainty that students have after graduation is the types of companies there are and what businesses are local to where they live. Another trepidation that recent graduates may have is a company’s willingness to hire recent grads with little experience.

By hosting a student facility tour of your business, you are not only introducing them to the fact that you exist and what your company does, but also showing that you are open to hiring recent grads. SEMA can connect you with local institutions to schedule a tour at your facility.

10 Best Practices for Student Facility Visits

  1. Start with an introduction. Consider using a video, audio or slide presentation, because visuals are helpful learning tools.
  2. Offer safety tips for touring the facility.
  3. Showcase your products and/or services.
  4. Appearance matters. Ensure that your office space and attire present a professional image.
  5. Be proud of your business.
  6. Make sure that employees are aware of your visitors. Consider enlisting one of your top employees to participate.
  7. Know where to start and finish the tour.
  8. Acknowledge your business’ problems, which displays openness and willingness to improve.
  9. Be generous. Consider offering refreshments if manageable, but this is not a requirement.
  10. Try to stand out from other companies by being unique.

SEMA maintains close relationships with institutions across the nation and works to connect businesses to opportunities in their local areas. To sign up for notifications of events happening in your area, visit

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