USF Career Services will kick off this semester’s three-day job fair with an event for all majors today, followed by a fair for STEM majors Thursday and a fair for accounting majors Friday. All three fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.
Russell Coughenour, assistant vice president of Career Services, said the strong showing from employers at the all-majors fair is a promising sign for students.
“That is the biggest job fair we do each year. We are sold out. There’s going to be approximately 100 companies that are going to be in the Ballroom,” he said. “It’s actually going to spill out outside the Ballroom.”
Coughenour said the employers are coming out for the spring recruiting season, with many of them trying to fill summer internship positions as well as full-time positions.
“I think it reflects favorably on — number one — the job market that currently exists for May 2015 graduates,” he said. “Number two — it favorably reflects on the brand that USF has with employers.”
Approximately 1,200 to 1,500 students visit the fair throughout the day, though Coughenour said he hopes for 2,000 students to turn out this year.
Coughenour said that prior knowledge about employers is important for students who want to make a good impression, encouraging students to show elevated interest in potential employers.
“I think what you want is a student who looks like they’ve been waiting months for this employer to appear on campus, just so they can talk to them about the opportunity,” he said. “I’m thinking that if students really look through the list of companies, they should be able to find at least eight to 10 organizations that they could get excited about interacting with.”
In order to stand out from the crowd, Coughenour said students should maintain professionalism and enthusiasm.
Students should also employ strong interpersonal skills, articulate themselves well and dress appropriately in order to impress employers. The job fair has an enforced dress code.
“The employer appreciates it because it creates a really positive impression for USF when the students are all dressed appropriately,” he said. “They all look like they mean business in terms of finding a job.”
Students will be able to rent clothing, if needed, through the “Suit-a-Bull” program.
“Students should come professionally dressed, meaning professional business attire, and they should bring multiple copies of their resume because they will be interacting with employers and most of the employers will be asking them for resumes,” Coughenour said.
Career Services will also have room 2707 available in the Marshall Student Center for students who need a moment to prepare before talking to employers, or who want a break before they continue. Coughenour said the “Ready Room” should help students feeling unsure about their interactions with employers.
“It’s really kind of designed as a prep room, and it’ll have resources in it for students who might be feeling a little uncomfortable about their preparation,” he said. “They can kind of go in there and gather themselves and think about walking into the job fair to interact with employers.”
Coughenour also said students should show their school pride to employers.
“This is a great opportunity for students to show their school pride and the fact that they’re happy about being a USF student,” he said. “That needs to come across as they’re interacting with the employers.”
Employers notice and compare school pride across campuses, Coughenour said.
“They compare. They will directly compare our student body with the student body at the University of Central Florida. They will directly compare our student body with the student body at the University of Florida,” he said. “We want USF students to represent us, and be happy and enthusiastic and full of energy at meeting these employers.”