There are few times when I feel ok about waking up at 7:00am on a Saturday when I’m at school. However, from now on, I will not hesitate to do so for the annual Viterbi Career Conference! I attended this wonderful event put on by Viterbi Career Services this past Saturday. I’ll be perfectly honest. I didn’t actually sign up for the conference because I thought it would be kind of lame. Too many people, I thought, all trying to talk to one or two professionals, and a bunch of workshops “teaching” things about resumes and proper etiquette that were extremely obvious. Boy was I wrong. Although I had technically only signed up as a volunteer rather than as a participant, my volunteering presented me with many awesome opportunities. I started off by helping out with check in, bright and early around 7:30am. As soon as this was finished, my next designated task for the day was to help set up mock interviews for the participants of the conference. I went into the Student Union building and got to see an area besides the pharmacy for the first time since I’ve been here. Let me just say, it is a nice space. Aside from the fact that the area had a tv to enjoy saturday afternoon football on, it was the best volunteer space for the networking opportunities it presented me with! Most of the recruiters and employees conducting the mock interviews arrived early, and I got to greet them, make small talk, introduce myself, and that kind of stuff. However, the true value of being a volunteer for the event was in talking to the recruiters when participants didn’t show or were late. I met so many wonderful people who I have already contacted since the conference. In particular, I bonded with a younger recruiter named Rachel from a company in NorCal called Brocade. I had never heard about them before, but Rachel explained to me that the company was really big on information systems/marketing and that they were looking for CS/EE and kids of pretty much any engineering major who had an interest in business. I got to spend about 45 minutes getting to know her and we really clicked. I told her about NOBE (USC’s National Organization for Business and Engineering) and my involvement/role as vice president, and she seemed very interested in possibly coming back to campus to do an event with us. I also got to talk football with a CIA recruiter (he was a huge Auburn fan, and proud of it. I liked his spunk), and got cards from recruiters with a few other companies.
After that I got to enjoy some yummy, free food at the super classy conference lunch. That alone would have made the event worth it:) If my day couldn’t get any better, since I was in charge of directing traffic and keeping time for the resume critiques, I had access to this area before people at the lunch tables were released into it. I decided to take advantage of this time by sitting down with the Microsoft rep, who happened to be a recent USC grad. He gave me such constructive critique and took a lot of time to give me good suggestions for improvement. Furthermore, I had been planning on applying to Microsoft for a summer internship anyway, so he gave me specific instructions for writing an objective statement to get my resume noticed. Then he asked to keep it! Aside from all the great people I met, the day was genuinely fun. I got to hang out with friends (400 Viterbi undergrads attended!), make myself useful, eat some good food, and learn a lot of great information directly from my sources of evaluation. This was such a well done event and I’m happy to have been a volunteer. However, I heard the workshops were awesome, so maybe next year I might just have to be a regular participant:)