Heard of the USC General Career Fair, Viterbi Career Conference, Viterbi Career Fair, Info Sessions, company tech tech talks…and wondering how to make sense of the multitude of events on campus?
Quick Answer: Use them to your advantage, and go to as many as you can. Especially for freshman, your first month or so at USC will be one of the most busy and exciting times of your educational career, but maximizing the resources available to you from USC (like all of the career events above) is key to securing an internship, research position, or even just to learn more about the process of applying and interviewing for jobs.
More realistic answer: Of course, it’s impractical to attend every single event for recruiting, but here’s a gameplan generated from my experiences as a Freshman last fall.
- Start with a polished resume (yes, your Freshman Academy Coaches are great resources for this!)
- Sign up for the General Career fair, ConnectSC, and the Viterbi Career Gateway.
- Attend the General Career Fair and identify companies that interest you
- Attend the Viterbi Career Fair, and continue to apply to interesting companies
- Interview for internships
- Hopefully, you’ll now have an internship!
I’d like to note that this is most definitely not the only process method to be selected for an internship. It is, though, a framework for how to market yourself and set yourself up for the best chances to secure an internship.
The keys to the process, despite any route that you may choose, are confidence and a great first impression. Hopefully, your resume has no typos, and you have an elevator pitch that is full of energy. The first 10 seconds or so of interaction with a recruiter is key, and the more energy, momentum, and excitement that you bring towards interest in a particular position, the better.
My personal experience with The Boeing Company began last year at the USC General Career Fair. While this was not the main event for technical positions available for Boeing, I still presented myself at the Boeing booth with my resume, gave a short pitch, and inquired about opportunities. This entire exchange maybe lasted 5-10 minutes, but I gained the information that I needed to apply online to internships for the following summer before the Viterbi Career Fair.
A note: applying before you meet with recruiters is a great way to show that you’ve done your homework, and really are interested in the company.
After applying online, I was fortunately called back for an interview during the beginning of October, and shortly thereafter, was notified that I was selected for the position.
Again, none of this would have happened if I didn’t start with a clear and professional resume, or attend the general or Viterbi Career Fairs. Finally, having confidence in your skills and your achievements in the past is important as well, regardless of their level of prestige. Remember: I was a freshman. I absolutely did not have more experience than almost every other student at these fairs, but the energy and excitement towards the position I desired carried me through.
I hope this provides a summary (albeit a brief one) and some personal anecdotes to shed some light on the process. And of course, please do feel free to comment with questions if you’d like to learn more!