There are a lot of great things about being a student at Viterbi, but one of the most important is the career fair! Every semester, all kinds of companies line up Trousdale (in BC times, before COVID), and students can line up to talk directly with recruiters. Lost in a sea of people, it can feel hard to get noticed, especially when the most popular companies have lines stretching across the quad. That’s why I’m going to give my best tips from the perspective of a junior for the career fair—prospective students reading this, these tips may not apply to you yet, but they should give you a good idea of this part of job recruitment and something to get excited for at USC!
1. The most important thing to remember is that these companies are literally there to meet people like you! They would not come to USC just to pass the time, or as a favor to anyone, if they did not expect to find great candidates. So be confident! Show your excitement to be there, and try your best to stand out.
2. Going hand-in-hand with that, recruiters aren’t just looking for you to hand them a resume that hits their benchmarks—they can do that online. Rather, they want to engage in conversation with you to see if you’re a good fit culturally, and how easy to work with you would be. Although the jobs you’re looking for are probably technical in nature, good conversational ability goes a long way!
3. Start early! As a freshman, your chances of being hired/invited for an interview are likely not as high as an upperclassman’s, but getting your face out there really helps in several ways. One, you get some relatively low-risk practice talking to recruiters and getting an idea of how the process works. You may also be able to get recruiter contact info and/or LinkedIn connections which are invaluable. Two, you get a better gauge as to what companies are looking for in candidates (technical skills or otherwise), and you can start building those skills early. Three, it’s often the same recruiters out there over the years, so if by the time you’re a junior you’ve talked to a recruiter several times, you have a big leg up because they already know you.
4. Print LOTS of resumes!!! You can never have enough.
Well, that’s about all I’ve learned. You may have heard some of these already, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. In fact, you’ve probably heard these tips multiple times because they’re important!
Now get out there and get a job you deadbeat!