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Students continue job, internship search

Amanda Gray | Monday, February 1, 2010

To provide students an on-campus opportunity to meet potential employers, Notre Dame’s Career Center will host the Winter Career and Internship Fair Wednesday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse from 4 to 8 p.m.

The fair will feature representatives from 120 different companies and organizations, Kevin Monahan, associate director of the Career Center, said.

“Last year, 133 organizations attended the Winter Fair so the numbers are slightly lower,” Monahan said. “The Career Center was very proactive in its outreach to employers and I believe this effort shows in the strong numbers of employers who are coming to campus.”

Monahan said the reason most often given by employers not attending the Career Fair was a reduction in recruiting budgets.

“Landing a job or internship in this type of economic climate takes more effort.  It is not enough to just apply online — students who have been experiencing the most success have been reaching out to employers, networking with alumni, attending career events and preparing for interviews — in addition to applying to jobs or internships,” Monahan said.  “These steps require a fair amount of time and so patience and persistence are important in the search.”

In light of the competitive nature of the job and internship search, Monahan said that preparation is key. Students should have their résumés reviewed by Career Center staff and consider what sets them apart from other applicants.

Monahan emphasized the need for setting expectations for the fair. He said they also should identify and research eight to 12 employers and their job or internship openings. To prepare for talking with recruiters, he said students need to create a 20-second introduction, including name, major, year, interests, skills and questions for the recruiter.

“Every interaction with a potential employer will form an impression. That being said, dress and act professionally,” Monahan said. “Students should bring several copies of their résumés and notepad for jotting down information, recruiter’s names and e-mail addresses.”

Monahan said the Career Center is experiencing higher traffic in preparation of the Career Fair.

“The office’s scheduled and walk-in appointments have been busy,” Monahan said.  “It is good to see students using the Center’s resources for interest assessments, career exploration, alumni networking, job shadowing and externships, internship funding needs, in addition to the internship and job search assistance.”

In preparation, the Career Center and several other groups have hosted workshops to prepare students for networking, interviews and other aspects of the job hunting process.
“The Career Center has hosted Career Fair preparation workshops for the various colleges and several student clubs, 14 evening preparation sessions in residence halls, office hours in Fitzpatrick, Jordan, LaFortune, Mendoza and O’Shaughnessy and finally, we will hold a ‘Last Minute Career Fair Prep Workshop’ on Tuesday evening in DeBartolo,” Monahan said. “There will be several employers in attendance on the Tuesday evening program to offer tips and advice.  These efforts are in addition to our usual walk-in and scheduled appointments.”

Kristine Yuen, Notre Dame senior and double major in Information Technology Management and Chinese, created “Mastering the Art of Networking,” a workshop that was held on Jan. 16.  The program consisted of student and alumni panel followed by a networking session.

“We had 18 alumni representing 14 companies,” Yuen said. “We also had over 200 students. We didn’t anticipate 200 students. We planned to have around 75 to 100. It’s neat to see that number of students wanting to network. The alumni response was also amazing.”

Yuen was offered a job from the Fall Career Fair at Deloitte Consulting.

“The career fairs are one of the best ways to get a job,” Yuen said. “I started going freshman year. It gives you a lot of exposure.”

Yuen said the career fairs can be intimidating, but coming prepared helps.
“Do a lot of research on companies,” Yuen said. “Everybody’s trying to find a job. Companies want to see you’re genuinely interested in them, otherwise they won’t be interested in you.”

Yuen said composure and a calm attitude will go far with recruiters.

“Find time to relax in long lines. Eavesdrop and pick up things not to say. You’ll see the recruiter grimace and know not to say that,” Yuen said. “The recruiters have two piles of résumés: good and bad. You want to stay out of the bad pile.”

Before the Career Fair, the Career Center will also host a Diversity Fair Reception, LaTonia Ferguson, a career counselor in the Diversity Career Programs said.

“The Diversity Reception is an excellent opportunity for students to network and speak more in-depth with employers about their opportunities before the career fair,” Ferguson said.

The reception will be held on Wednesday from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center Monogram Room. Ferguson said the reception is open to all students.

“Diversity is an all-inclusive concept, and many employers will be on hand to discuss the role diversity plays in their organization,” Ferguson said.

Monahan said that there are more programs available through the Career Center of which job or internship seeking students can take advantage.

“Although the fair is phenomenal way to meet employers and further individual internship or job searches, students should not limit themselves to just the fair,” Monahan said. “There are several resources the Career Center can use to assist students in their career and internship efforts.”

Monahan said students pursuing unpaid internships still could receive money for their work through the University.

“The Career Center has funding programs to help students afford internships,” he said. “There are six separate funds, each is designed to support different areas. For example, the Rogers Arts & Letters Majors Fund could sponsor 50 unpaid interns this summer.”