USF job fair: Finding employment starts with online Handshake

Julie Jung, a University of South Florida junior, is working two jobs while earning her marketing degree. In addition to taking 15 credit hours, she’s a supervisor for a cleaning subcontractor full-time and a social media manager for a restaurant part-time.

“If you don’t have a job, you think you have all the time in the world -- and you are really not managing your time very well,” Jung says.

She’s learned firsthand. She concentrated exclusively on her studies at first. Then she began juggling work responsibilities as well, and found keeping busy was better for her.

“I get better grades now that I work and study,” says Jung, who earned all As last semester.

Jung was one of a crowd who thronged the Marshall Student Center at USF’s Tampa Campus for its Spring 2017 Career and Internship Fair Week. The event began Feb. 1 with an all majors fair, and continued Feb. 2 with a STEM fair for science, technology, engineering and math, and Feb. 3 with an accounting fair.

Jung’s goals are to network and “hopefully get some more insight on their summer internship program application process,” the Tampa resident says.

Emiliano Morales Flores, an economics major from Monterrey, Mexico, whose family has relocated to Central Florida, also was interested in an internship.  “One of the big steps to get your dream job is to get experience. This is my last summer before graduating. I want to look for some experience consulting related,” he explains.

Flores, who has been conferring with USF’s Career Services staff, has discovered he likes working with a variety of projects and companies. “It’s something that really excites me,” he says.
Career Services helped him refine his objectives. “I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t know how to do it,” Flores says. “They [Career Services] helped me to make a plan.”

Juan Tobon Ochoa, who is working on his Master’s degree in Business Administration, was looking for a summer internship before his graduation in the fall. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Columbia, where he worked for three years as a financial analyst.

“My whole purpose is to get working experience here,” says Ochoa, who dressed in a suit to meet representatives of target companies with internships in business financial analysis.

“I have them [the suits]. I’m going to use them,” he quips. “I’ll try to impress and get the interview.”

The Job Fairs were expected to draw more than 2,600. For some, the meeting and greeting began with a handshake, of sorts, online.

A national recruitment manager for CareerStaff Unlimited, an Irving, TX-based healthcare staffing company, signed up for the job fair through a Career Center Management System called Handshake. That was before Danny Murray, the area manager and a USF alumni, found out about it. “I’m happy that she did her job,” he says. “She beat me to it.”

Murray, who earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Marketing in 2007, was on campus again looking for a staffing manager and an intern. “We hire new grads,” he says. “I’m looking for someone with a good foundation that wants to make a good career.”

Handshake is what is different about fair week this year, according to Peter Thorsett, Communications and Marketing Officer for Career Services at USF.

“Once an employer registers with a member school, they actually can recruit at any other member school in the nation,” Thorsett says. 

Streamlining the signup process has been a game changer. “We’re experiencing a big change in terms of who recruits on campus,” he says. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Hershey, the Hershey, PA-based chocolatier, is another employer that found USF through Handshake. “It was really helpful because all the information was right there,” says Laura Holland, Direct Sales Manager in Tampa. “I like that it keeps all the resumes there so I can go back and see who has applied to my positions.”

Holland was giving away candy and talking to prospects, who were lining up to learn about job opportunities.

Across the room, Alan Environmental Products Inc., operating in St. Petersburg and Monmouth, IL, was recruiting for the environmentally friendly cleaning supply company. “I found the career fair through Handshake, says Joni Oneal, National Sales Manager. “I thought this would be a great fit. Tampa is so close.”

The all majors fair was sold out for employers, leaving about 30 on cocktail tables set up in the Mezzanine. “We trace a lot of that back to the Handshake transition,” Thorsett says. 

In the Mezzanine Brianna Daly, College Recruiting and Diversity Staffing Coordinator for Florida Virtual School, was looking for information tech interns and computer science and Chinese instructors. “I do prefer to be in the main room. It’s a little bit busier,” she says.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune