Career Fair Looks Resilient in an Economy that is Anything But

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73 companies have signed on to attend this year’s career and internship fair at USF, down from 93 last year, and on-campus recruiting and online job postings are both down year over last, according to USF Career Services Center Coordinator of Employee Relations Julia Hing. However, there are still opportunities for graduating students, she said, even if they have to work harder to secure an offer or cast a wider search net.
Campus recruiting, which remained strong last spring and into the fall as the economy slid into recession has started to show signs of weakness. Most companies are reporting flat or reduced new graduate hiring, however it varies by sector, she said.

Hiring in financial services is down significantly, and many investment firms, including Goldman Sachs, are not doing much if any new-grad hiring this year. However, several financial companies are coming to the career fair including First Investors Corporation, Northwestern Mutual and MassMutual Financial. There will also be several accounting firms and corporate finance recruiters from companies such as Oracle at the fair.
Many government agencies and non-profits including the San Francisco Fire Department, Peace Corps, FBI, FDIC, and Greenpeace are also scheduled to attend the event. Hing said she was surprised that so many non-profits are recruiting this year, expecting that they would be cutting budgets as funding dries up.

The poor economy is causing more students to seek career advice. CSC Office Manager Natalie Casillas said she has seen many more students and recent graduates coming into her office looking for help with their job search than in years past. “There is an overall sense of pressure, students are wondering if there will be a job available to them,” she said.

USF alumnus Nicolae Ciobanu has been polishing-up his resume and is looking forward to the career fair. He graduated in December with a degree in finance and has been diligently applying to jobs for several months now, but has yet to secure an offer. “It’s never been easy to get into finance, but I’m still getting interviews and still getting callbacks so I’m optimistic,” he said. Ciobanu has written unique cover letters for 30 job openings and has gotten 8 call backs. “It’s all about me, how hard I work, how I do in interviews, how I write my cover letter, I’m out there networking, shaking hands, trying make connections,” he said.

With May graduation rapidly approaching, communications major Dalia Al-Mahmood found herself at the career center on Tuesday for the third time this semester. She wants to work in hospitality and was scheduling a mock interview with a recruiter from the Ritz Carlton. Mock interviews allow students the opportunity to practice their skills with professionals in an industry and hopefully make a good impression.

Al-Mahmood attended a career fair in downtown San Francisco last week but did not find as many opportunities as she was hoping. She said she is working hard on her career search and looking forward to speaking with several of the non-profits scheduled to attend USF’s career fair. She is also trying to stay positive, but finds the process exhausting. “It’s stressing me out, when does this economy get better? By May I hope,” she said with a nervous laugh. “I’m only taking one class so right now my job is to find a job,” she said.

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