Ambitious students donning professional business wear, with resumés in hand, flooded the USC ballrooms to network with employers at the Internship & Job Fair, Feb. 22.
Stationed in individual booths, over 70 employers from a wide range of fields answered career-related questions, interviewed candidates and honed students’ interview skills.
The event offered an invaluable frame for undecided majors to see what positions could be available to them and better understand the skills required for different educational paths. Employers themselves were more than willing to teach students how to succeed in their respective industries.
“We look for a go-getter with a good personality,” said Linda Chum, corporate recruiter for BayCare Medical Group. “Ambition, drive and intelligence are all good traits,” added Chum’s co-worker, Ryan Platt.
Others gave broader guidelines for being valuable in any of the positions on offer at the fair.
“You have to be prepared for a variety of different challenges. Beyond that, just a drive and appetite for work,” said Jef Kensinger, representing the Sutton Inspection Bureau.
Although many of the attending businesses were local, a few big names like Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Beasley Media Group and Renaissance Hotels attended the fair, anxious to provide accessible careers for USF St. Petersburg students and alumni.
“We don’t utilize USF students enough at the Dalí,” said Bryanna Tramontana, volunteer experience coordinator for the Dalí Museum. “We really want to strengthen that relationship.”
Opportunities were available for every major at any experience level. Employers like Tramontana recruited for everything from summer internship programs to starting positions.
Next to the fair’s entrance was the career closet, a program hosted by the Career Center where students in need of professional dress may borrow the proper attire to meet with the recruits. High-quality headshots were also provided for students who attended the job fair to enhance their online portfolios.
Leading up to the event, the USFSP Career Center hosted preparation workshops preceding the fair where proper etiquette and professionalism were discussed.
The Career Center suggested to prepare and practice an elevator speech.
Elevator speeches are concise monologues that state your goals, credentials and purpose behind giving the speech, such as landing a job or using the person you’re speaking to as a future reference. Keeping the dialogue under thirty seconds and tailoring it to the specific employer you’re addressing are key elements in crafting it.
The next step to landing a dream job is practice. It is especially important to practice professional mannerisms and demeanor for when the interview opportunity comes.
A firm handshake and confident appearance are essential to becoming the final choice for a position, but going as far as sounding rehearsed or manufactured should be avoided. Lastly, many job-seekers forget about the follow-up.
After intent is stated and relevant questions asked, remember to gather contact info from the employer. Business cards or email addresses should be traded to further discuss the job opportunity.
Located in SLC 2300, the Career Center offers a variety of classes to actively enrolled students. Among the lessons provided are classes on crafting resumés and cover letters, exploration of your major’s career paths, mock interviews and consultations about individual career choices.
Such a selection of prep tools and the opportunities afforded by the 2017 Job & Internship Fair go far in showing the campus’ dedication to practical education.
“USFSP is always very welcoming and professional at job fairs,” said Natalie Oviedo, recruiter for Panera Bread, “This campus always has great quality candidates.”
Photo by Luke Cross | The Crow’s Nest