March 19, 2012
|Students network at the Career and Internship Expo.
When Kaitlin Webster ’11 strolled into Rollins’ Career and Internship Expo last year, she wasn’t planning to leave anything to chance. With graduation just eight weeks away, the international business major had one goal: to secure employment. So, like a Super Bowl coach on the eve of the big game, Webster created a strategy that would allow her to tackle the expo like a champion.
“I came really prepared for the career fair,” said Webster, who besides updating her resume, took the time a few days before to research a dozen of the employers a few days before attending the Expo. “I did a search of the employers that would be there, comparing them to my qualifications and interests, and then went directly to the ones that were a good fit.”
Prometheus Healthcare was one such employer that Webster targeted. She confidently approached their booth and candidly explained why she was a good fit for their company. A few weeks later, she was offered a position as the company’s new recruiting manager, a job she loves. “I came to the career fair just trying to find a job but I ended up doing something I really want to create a career out of,” said Webster, who now reviews hundreds of resumes a day for the medical recruitment company. “I didn’t even know this career existed and now I have found something really fulfilling.”
Jane Wurzelbacher ’03 ’08 MBA approached last year’s career expo in the same way: strategically. “I went in with a number of employers that I specifically wanted to talk to,” said Wurzelbacher, who previously worked in Rollins’ Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. “I walked up to the iGPS booth and had a very honest and open conversation with the two representatives about what it’s like to work in their industry,” she said. “As a result, I got a great feel for the company. I left my resume and they called a few days later.”
Naturally, Wurzelbacher had updated her resume prior to the expo but what blew iGPS away was the amount of preparedness she conveyed. “After I was hired, I was told how much I had impressed them by being so on the ball,” she said “They were really surprised by the amount of knowledge I had on the company. That completely won them over.”
This year, more than 70 potential employers and internship providers will attend the Career and Internship Expo on Thursday, March 22. Assistant Director in the Office of Career Services Julia Larson, sees the event as an unrivaled opportunity for all students, not just for seniors and alumni, to make some important career connections.
“I think the most important element is the opportunity to begin networking with employers, and to get accustomed to communicating with employers about what you hope to achieve in terms of career,” said Larson. “These employers have current opportunities—that’s why they are here. There is no better time to step out and get used to representing yourself, describing who you are, making that connection between who’s hiring and what you have to offer.”
Larson estimates that employers at the Expo are looking to fill not only 59 full- and part-time positions, but also 46 internship positions. Internship connections are a critical element of the event, especially for undergraduates looking to build upon their resume before graduation.
For example, at last year’s Expo, economics major Garrett Derderian ’12 landed an excellent summer internship at Marcus & Millichap, an Orlando-based real estate investment firm. “I gained valuable knowledge in the world of commercial real estate about transactions, marketing, and business ethics,” said Derderian. “I believe that the Career Expo is very valuable if you know how to market yourself. It is not just about showing up. You have to go in prepared and know what you are looking for in order to maximize your chances at landing the internship. Especially in this very competitive market, having an edge over the competition is key.”
Career and Internship Expo 2012 will be held at the Alfond Sports Center on Thursday, March 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students and alumni interested in preparing for this event can visit the Expo page of the Career Services website, there they can access workshop information, handouts, resume writing guides, and tips on professional dress.