Career Showcase starts Tuesday at UF

Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.

About 50 students crowded into a room in the University of Florida Career Resource Center on Thursday for boot camp, preparing themselves for the mental battle of job-seeking that begins Tuesday. Susan Irick, vice president of technology at Global Technology, stood at the front of the room, advising the students to make a good first impression on the employers.

"They're going to remember you one way or another," Irick said. "Show up prepared, positive and polished."

The UF Career Resource Center's Career Showcase will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the O'Connell Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"The goal of the showcase is to connect students with employers," said Angel Iverson, the assistant director for career events at the resource center. "It's an arena to practice networking skills, elevator speeches and see how the field works."

The Career Resource Center hosts the showcase each spring and fall to help students search for jobs and internships and meet with prospective employers.

"We look at the top hiring industries, as well as feedback from students on the types of companies that they're looking for," Iverson said.

Over 220 employers were registered for the showcase, a 12 percent increase from the 196 companies during the fall. Many of the employers, Iverson said, come from the health care industry and banking, finance and accounting firms.

"Employers may not have filled all of their positions in the fall, or budgets may have increased for companies," she said. "We're seeing more diversity each time we host the showcase."

The showcase is split into two days: Tuesday will host companies with non-technical jobs (including retail, health care and communications), while Wednesday employers will advertise more technical jobs (including computer science, engineering and research).

Senior marketing and sociology major Steward Sedgwick, 22, participated in the showcase last semester and walked out with a job as an operation analyst with Citigroup Banking and Securities.

Sedgwick said he received an email from the Career Resource Center about an information session where he could have one-on-one time with an employer before the showcase.

"I looked at the position," he said, "and it was almost identical to the internship I'd had the previous summer."

Senior materials science and engineering major David Hwang, 21, led the UF Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers lecture series.

Hwang, who is looking into internships at Lockheed Martin, Walt Disney World, Intel and Texas Instruments, said he wanted to help freshmen be as prepared as they could be for something as intimidating as the showcase. Lectures included practicing interview questions and following up with recruiters after the event.

Iverson, who expects between 5,500 and 6,000 people to attend the showcase, advises students to make a list of priority companies and plan a schedule to avoid long lines.

"You should research the companies and come up with questions to ask them as well," she said.

Men are encouraged to wear a dark blue, black or gray suit, and women should wear a dark blue, black or gray pants or skirt suit reaching at least the knee.

Students must use their Gator 1 ID to get into the showcase. They should also bring multiple copies of their résumé and a calendar to schedule follow-up interviews.

The showcase is open to UF students and alumni only.

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