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How to make the most of SU's Career Expo

Learn the do’s and don’ts when meeting potential employers Thursday, plus Joe Blum’s advice for what not to do during an interview.

Think you have what it takes to work at Microsoft? How about the FBI? Find out Thursday when those join more than 60 other companies looking to hire at the SU Career Expo.

Debra Walker, assistant director for recruiting from SU’s Center for Career Services, provided several “Do's” and “Don’ts” for students interested in excelling at the fair and landing that dream job or internship.

The Do's

Do your research. Know information about the companies that will be at the fair. Not knowing about a company that you plan to talk to will be embarrassing and a waste of their time. Tip: Don’t just check out their Web site. Walker said you will stick out to employers by going beyond the basic research and doing a Google or Vault search for harder to obtain information. How to get help: The Career Office offers Mentor@SU, a program that can help you network and talk to alumni who can fill you in on the details.

Show Enthusiasm. “When talking to an employer, be interested,” Walker said. “Try not to be monotonous and try to be interested, show energy and give a firm handshake. Always smile and thank the company for coming to the career fair.”  How to get help: Attend the “How to Succeed at the Career Fair Workshop” offered by the Career Office. Times and locations are available on their website.

Prepare your skills and interests. This is your personal pitch selling yourself. The more you practice your pitch, the more confident you will sound. Tip: Make a chart of the skills needed for the job and your own skills. Doing so “will show how you can fit in with the company,” Walker said. How to get help: Attend the center’s workshop. Be passionate, know your experiences and most importantly, be confident.

Resume. “You’ve got to have a resume put together,” Walker said. Tip: Walker said that all resumes must have a name, contact information, skills, experiences, grade-point-average and accomplishments. How to get help: Attend Resumania! The Career Center is having resume workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday, where employers will be available to help critique resumes and give students advice.

Follow-up after the fair. “You need to know what happens next,” Walker said. Before leaving the fair, know what’s next and how to follow-up. Tip: Employers love when they get handwritten notes, Walker said, so after the fair, send the employer a letter. This puts your name in front of the recruiter another time. How to get help: The workshop covers how to contact the recruiters after the fair. Use Orangelink for information, as well.

The Don’ts

Don’t say “I’ll take anything.” Walker said that students shouldn’t go into the fair thinking that any job offered is the right one. “Never tell a recruiter that you’ll take anything, because your resume will go into the ‘No Way Pile’.” Tip: Know each job description and try to match your goals and skills with the right job for you.

Don’t forget to ask questions. “Don’t go to the fair and say, ‘Hello’ to the recruiter and get their information and leave,” Walker said. This shows “that you’re lacking interest in the company.” Tip: Always ask the recruiter questions. Find recent news about the company. Just make sure the questions aren’t too personal.

Don’t forget to act professional. Walker has countless stories about students acting unprofessional. “Don’t talk about your weekend plans or scream to your friend across the room,” Walker said. “You’re being watched at all times.” Tip: Be professional, dress professional and make a good impression, because it could be your first and last.

Don’t ask about salaries or benefits. This isn’t your time or place to ask about the dough or perks. Tip: Check Orangelink for salary and benefit guides. The Career Office also has recent graduate surveys detailing expected salaries.

The Details

What: Syracuse University Spring Career Expo
When: Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center
Who will be there: Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Kohl’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are among the more than 60 companies scheduled to participate.
Who should go: All majors and all SU students, graduate students and alumni looking for summer internships and entry-level jobs.  
What to bring: Your resume, plus an extra copy to use as your admission to the fair. Doing so will make registering faster and easier. 
What to wear: Professional, dress to impress.


Awwww, Joe Blum.

Awwww, Joe Blum.


In Joe's defense, the New York Times really does need more Sour Patch Kids.

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