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Career fair opens doors for ASU public programs students

ASU Downtown Phoenix campus career fair
June 20, 2014

Criminology and criminal justice senior Jasmine De Los Rios attended the ASU Community & Public Service Career & Internship Fair June 11 with the goal of setting up a couple internships before she graduates next spring.

“Every time that I’m able to, I try to be here,” says De Los Rios. “I know it’s very important to get connections to meet other people that will also be able to help you get places.”

De Los Rios was one of 105 College of Public Programs students and graduates to attend the career fair at the AE England Building. It’s the first time a career fair has been held on the Downtown Phoenix campus outside the fall and spring semesters, and turnout was good. More students from the College of Public Programs attended the summer event than either the spring or fall career fairs.

Overall, a total of 286 students and alumni showed up to talk to 47 employers ranging from Playworks, which offers recess programs at local schools, to the Department of Economic Security, which is hiring case managers to investigate child abuse cases.

Among the employers De Los Rios talked to was the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maricopa County Juvenile Court and Mesa Police Department.

Attendees also took advantage of the free LinkedIn photo booth, offered by Career Services, to have their photos taken while in professional dress for use on the popular employment social networking site. The free service is available to students, graduates, faculty and staff at Career Services’ office, and will be offered at future career fairs.

“Usually when they come to our career fair, they’re already dressed for success,” says Career Services’ Cameron Robb, who is assistant director for strategic employer development. “So the idea is that we can capture them in a moment, and then we’re going to download everything and give them access so they can add the photo to their LinkedIn profile.”

Robb says Career Services will help students create a LinkedIn profile if they don’t have one.

“This would be a really good opportunity for them to come and see us, sit down and one-on-one start building their profile so that they’re ready to get out there.”

One employer that had a steady stream of candidates at the career fair was the Arizona Department of Administration. Recruiter Katie Matysik says the event provided an opportunity to highlight more than two dozen available positions and raise awareness about working for the state, which had backed off recruiting during lean economic times.

“We want to create a brand with our ASU graduates to let them know that the state is a great opportunity,” says Matysik. “And we want people in school currently to start thinking about us, as we do have a lot of internship opportunities. And we’re really good with bringing in entry-level students and promoting from within.”

An ASU alumnus, Matysik says students should come to a career fair dressed appropriately and ready to talk to recruiters.

“Certainly, dress professionally, shake hands, make eye contact, come with a resume prepared so we can talk to you and get an idea of what your background is,” Matysik says. “Also, you show us by your demeanor and your clothing that you’re prepared to hit the ground running – that you’re professional.”

Being prepared for a career fair can make all the difference when attending. Cindy Parnell, director of Career Services for ASU Downtown, was particularly impressed with one student’s strategy.

“What she actually did prior to the event is she researched organizations, applied to a few of them and then today made sure that she put a face to her name so that she could connect with the recruiters and let them know that she had already applied,” Parnell says. “She handled it perfectly, and I wish a lot of candidates would do that.”

Career fairs and mixers offer students the chance to network professionally, but ASU Career Service’s Cameron Robb says students shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to take advantage of the host of free ASU services designed to prepare them for the job market. That includes help creating a resume, writing cover letters and preparing for job interviews.

“We don’t want students waiting until the eleventh hour – it’s their last semester before they graduate, and now they’re going to panic and need us," says Robb.

Written by Paul Atkinson