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UD Career Services personnel say that students seeking jobs and internships should spend time researching companies they are interested in working for, and avoid asking, “What does your company do?”
UD Career Services personnel say that students seeking jobs and internships should spend time researching companies they are interested in working for, and avoid asking, “What does your company do?”

Spring career fairs

Photo by Kirk Smith

With more than 200 employers attending, UD offers preparation help to students

The University of Delaware’s 2020 Spring Career and Internship Fairs will return to the Bob Carpenter Building (Little Bob) on Thursday, Feb. 20. More than 200 employers will be present to discuss jobs and internship opportunities. The event kicks off with a Senior Power Half Hour at 3 p.m. All students and alumni are invited to join from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Career Center Director Nathan Elton recommended charting a course before the big day by making a list of the employers you want to meet.

“Take a few hours to review the employers attending and their jobs and internships in Handshake,” Elton said. “Going in with a game plan will help you focus your time, find organizations that align with your interests, ask specific questions and make a positive impression on the recruiters.”

In order to make that good impression, Senior Associate Director of Employer and Alumni and Engagement R. Lynn Sydnor-Epps offered advice on what to say and not say.

“The best way to greet a recruiter is to bring your energy and interest and provide a very brief background like your name, major and some of your skills,” she said. “The absolute worst way to greet a recruiter is to ask, ‘So what does your company do?’ or ‘What jobs do you have open?’ Keep in mind that all of their company information can be found on their website or on Handshake.”

Steven Caulfield, a career counselor in the Lerner Career Services Center, suggested a person’s actual handshake can be just as important.

“Two of the biggest pet peeves employers have are how students shake hands and when students don’t know about the company,” he said. “Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands before attempting to introduce yourself, and make sure that you also dry your palms if you’re feeling nervous or too warm. Your handshake makes a strong impression. However, the best handshake in the world won’t save you if you don’t know what the company does.”

In preparation for the fairs, the Career Center will host a Career Prep Pop-Up in the Rodney Room of the Perkins Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Students can practice their 30-second elevator pitch, review their resume with an employer in their industry and visit the career concierge for tips and tricks. International students can seek advice directly from a representative from the Office of International Students and Scholars.

“There are many unique challenges that international students face when applying for jobs and internships in the United States,” said Travis Pocta, assistant director of international student career readiness at OISS. “They must understand the employment benefits and restrictions attached to their visa type, and there are many cultural differences within the job search process. The fairs may not be the appropriate environment to ask, ‘Do you sponsor?’ We want international students to stand out by being confident in themselves and their abilities.”

In addition to the Perkins pop-up, students can attend drop-in hours Monday through Friday at the Career Center at 401 Academy Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Lerner Career Services at 101 South Main Street from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Pocta urged all students to take advantage of these available resources. “Researching the different employers, perfecting a clear and concise elevator pitch and practicing body language skills are all ways to improve your level of preparedness,” he said. “As the saying goes, ‘Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.’ ”

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