In the weeks leading up to the Penn State Abington Fall Career Expo, which welcomed 92 employers recently, the campus Career Development Center (CDC) prepped students for success. Staff helped develop resumes and talking points, staged mock interviews, and alumni recruiters returned to campus to offer advice.
Jackie McGrath Spinosa '04 and Calvin Roach '03 explained at the pre-expo workshop how they evaluate students at a job fair and how to prepare.
"Don’t shy away from a table at the expo even if you haven’t done research about the company. It's okay to ask questions," Roach, who has been at the federal Defense Logistics Agency for 12 years, said. "And tell me more about you. Be confident in who you are."
Roach and Spinosa reminded them to consider skills acquired through jobs and volunteer work and not to discount an experience because the title may have been cashier or clerk.
“You might be a cashier at McDonald’s or run a lemonade stand for years, but don’t undersell it. You are managing financial transactions and customer service," Spinosa, of Access Services, said. "Seeing details on your resume helps employers match up skills to better understand the individual."
Roach urged the students at the pre-expo workshop to take advantage of the free Career Development Center services.
"From my experience, Penn State Abington has one of the best career centers," he said. "They are very involved in helping you."
Before one dress shoe could hit the floor the day of the Fall 2016 Career Expo, students checked in and staff made sure they were ready: resumes, appropriate dress, and name badges labeled with their major and class standing.
CDC staff led by Tina Vance-Knight don't sugarcoat it when students arrive. Jeans? No admission. Forgot a suit jacket? Head around the corner and borrow one from the student service organization ENACTUS, which provides loaner pieces.
Many firms and agencies make the Abington spring and fall career fairs regular stops in their recruiting outreach. They meet current students looking for internships and full- and part-time jobs as well as alumni seeking new positions.
Career Development Center staff credits the steady increase in part to the flourishing Abington alumni network, which led a number of graduates to recruit last week.
“Abington has been granting baccalaureate degrees for more than a decade. Our alumni are in the position to give back by recruiting at Abington,” Ethel O’Dea, who manages the career expo, said.
Penn State Abington, formerly the Ogontz campus, offers baccalaureate degrees in 18 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of our 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. The Lion’s Gate residence hall will open in August 2017.