Networking and making a favorable impression are key when looking for an internship or a job, and for students, it’s never too early to start honing those skills.
That’s why College of Business marketing professor Anna Pietraszek centered her February 12 Marketing Yourself in Today’s Competitive Job Market class at the FIU Career Services Career Fair. Students participated in the event and she stood by offering guidance and support.
“It’s important for them to see the real world,” said Pietraszek. “You can teach it in class, but they have to look for opportunities everywhere.”
Among her words of advice to students meeting potential employers: “practice your elevator pitch, ask as many questions as you need to, and listen closely to what they ask so you can practice.”
The event was marketing student Santiago Leal’s first career fair and he admitted to being a bit nervous. “I’m looking for a marketing internship so I can enter the market with experience.”
Leal, who will graduate in 2017, is a member of the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) FIU Collegiate Chapter and has worked on projects for the Miami Marlins and catering company Dragon Fly. Before setting off to visit the companies, Leal reviewed with Pietraszek what he should say and ask.
Upon arriving at the fair, Jose Barandiaran researched the participating companies, via his mobile phone, to learn about the jobs they offered and how best to approach the recruiters. “It was really nice to see that he took that extra step,” said Pietraszek.
One student stopped to tell Pietraszek that he had passed out all of his résumés and felt good about his conversations with exhibitors. Several reached out her for words of encouragement: “don’t be nervous, you know what to do,” she told them.
The advice delivered positive results. Two marketing students were invited for one-on-one interviews with executives from the companies they visited at the career fair.
Guidance helps students taking first steps.
Held every semester, the FIU Career Services fair aims to help students and alumni prepare to enter the working world and to give employers access to candidates with a broad range of degrees and experience levels. This semester’s fair drew 90 employers.
“This is the first time we are participating in a career fair looking for an entry level position,” said Rebecca Battles, retail account manager for Patron Spirits Co. “We want to bring someone in from the outside and mold them to the Patron way.”
That in-person interaction offered at career fairs is crucial. It offers job seekers a unique opportunity to make personal connections that are impossible when submitting a resume online, noted Pietraszek. Another benefit for students to attend career fairs is to identify what they want to do in the future even if it’s not in their chosen field of study.
During in-class conversations following the event, students told Pietraszek that they considered the career fair exercise worthwhile and described it as a positive experience. Pietraszek said that many of the students have received messages from the company representatives they met with at the event.
Marketing major Coralia Arias explored internship opportunities and met with representatives from Macy’s and Target. “I haven’t worked before, so I need the experience,” she said. “We got exposure to a lot of companies.”
Arias, a student in Pietraszek’s Marketing Yourself class, appreciated the professor’s guidance. “For many of us it’s the first time attending a career fair and her experience benefits us.”