One of the best parts about USC that high school students rarely think about is the Trojan Network and the amount of career opportunities available. Though the campus is glamorous and there is a great sense of school pride, having a reliable career center and network will help in the long run when looking post-graduation. The Trojan Family is incomparable, where Alumni go above and beyond to help current students in any way that they can. Many job recruiters are USC alums and come back to USC to hire fellow trojans, making it a lot easier in interviews since you almost always have similar experiences to talk about.
The following are some ways that students get job/internship opportunities at USC:
Many companies will host events on campus, whether through a club or a Trojan Talk, to get to know USC students on a more personal level. Trojan Talks are a great way to explore companies more in depth because they are 1–2-hour long talks put on by the career where employers will go over their organizational culture, what positions are currently open, and their recruiting process. The career center hosts a variety of Trojan Talks, with companies from every industry, to allow students to learn more about what industry/organization interests them.
Alternatively, clubs host a ton of events with companies to highlight some of their students. This past semester, Disney came to an Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering meeting a to give a talk about some of the opportunities available and how Industrial & Systems Engineers fit into their organization. Many people ended up getting interviews from events like these and they also help to form relationships for the future.
USC/Viterbi Career Fair:
The resources at USC are amazing when it comes to finding a summer internship or a job post-graduation. Every semester, the School of Engineering puts on a Career fair with over 180 engineering companies looking to hire USC students. As previously mentioned, I think that this is the most valuable part of being at USC because companies and Alumni are looking to hire USC students because they know that you’re getting the same background as they did! I made sure to go to the career fair every year, even when I wasn’t looking for a position. This helps to get a sense of what it is like when you’re actually looking and people will remember you from the year before.
Many national organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Society of women engineers will hold conferences for their members where you can participate in workshops and get to meet other chapters. These conferences also have career fairs where employers are looking to hire student that are involved in these organizations.
A few years back, Ford invited our NSBE chapter to their development facility in Palo Alto and we were able to speak with engineers prior to the conference about opportunities available and to critique our resumes.
This past weekend, I went with the USC NSBE chapter to our National Conference that was held in Anaheim this year. I was able to speak with a few companies and get some interviews on the spot from those conversations. This is also a great way to network with engineering students from other universities to grow your professional network!
This past summer, I was able to get my internship by applying directly to the company. Many students think that you’re throwing a resume into the abyss, and in a lot of cases you are, but if you tailor your resume to fit the job description there is higher likelihood that you’re resume gets a look at and get an interview.