As the Fall Career Expo approaches this Wednesday, many students prepare their resumes and work on their interviewing skills in hopes of landing an internship or job in this tough economy.
Twice every year, in September and February, 900 to 1,200 UM students gather to network with contacts from various local and national companies from almost every industry, the largest being business, followed by engineering.
While many students view the Expo as a convenient way to find employment, Christian Garcia, director of the Toppel Career Center, stresses that the Expo acts more as a gateway into the recruitment process than a job placement service.
“It’s a chance for students and alumni to network,” said Garcia, who has been running the Expo for the past eight years.
Danielle D’alesio, a senior engineering student, attended the Fall Career Expo last year, and after speaking with a Beckman Coulter representative, successfully applied to their internship program online in January.
“I heard from many different people that companies were just there and not actually hiring for positions,” D’alesio said. “Many of the engineering companies seemed to be though.”
A few companies even conduct interviews at Toppel the Thursday and Friday after with the intent to offer employment positions to students.
Students aren’t the only ones that need to prepare themselves. Often times, many companies are unaware of UM’s relatively small student body size, especially in comparison to Florida’s much larger public universities.
“I educate the employers [prior to the Expo] so they know that they are coming for quality not quantity,” Garcia said.
With the current economic state, concerns have arisen from employers and students alike over a potential decrease in the availability of jobs and internships.
However, at Kaufman, Rossin & Co., a local accounting firm, the recession hasn’t resulted in any hiring freezes.
“Regardless of the economy, we are there to meet with the students, but we tell them to apply online anyways,” said Joy Batteen, the director of talent and development. “The number of interns we are hiring hasn’t changed.”
Before the Expo, students should review the list of companies appearing and decide which tables they will stop at. If students feel they need more help, walk-in advising is available every Monday through Thursday for resume critiquing.
A complete list of companies is available at Toppel or online at www.miami.edu/careerexpo.