Landing the Job

The Triton Fall Job Fair will be held Oct. 22 to Oct. 23 on Library Walk from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Find out about what to expect, the current job market for students and how to land the job you really want.

The Triton Fall Job Fair on Oct. 22-23 will feature a multitude of recruiters looking for technical and non-technical students alike. Illustration by Elyse Yang.
The Triton Fall Job Fair on Oct. 22-23 will feature a multitude of recruiters looking for technical and non-technical students alike. Illustration by Elyse Yang.

For the first time, the upcoming Triton Fall Job & Internship Fair will encompass all career fields in a large-scale, two-day event. Compared to last year’s exhibition, when 133 companies actively recruited on campus in mainly science and technology-orientated areas, this year’s event will host over 200 companies to recruit from all majors. The first day will be centered on science and technology with about 160 companies represented, and the second day of the fair will be held specifically for non-technical majors with 60 different company recruiters present.

Senior Director of Employer Relations & Outreach and 2006 UCSD alumnus Brandon Buzbee explained that the expansion of the fair mutually benefitted non-technical students and technological companies such as Chevron and UTC Aerospace, who have been recently recruiting these students for positions in departments such as marketing, communications and financial analysis. 

Another reason for the change, he said, was a rising need for better recruitment access in the fall, as many institutions recruit during this period for the following summer.

“Our students at UCSD couldn’t be as competitive as UCLA or Cal,” Buzbee said. “We weren’t in the natural recruitment cycle of [companies like] financial institutions and major national nonprofits because we weren’t making it very easy to recruit here in the fall.”

On-campus interviews are also increasing in number from around 16 interview rooms utilized in the past to over 80 this year.

“A lot more employers are utilizing on-campus interviewing, which for us is really promising because what that means is employers are planning on being here, talking to talent a little bit longer,” Buzbee said. “To me, it’s not just about getting employers here; it’s about getting students more interviews, which will translate into more jobs.”

For the students attending this year’s job fair, Buzbee encourages students to “realize your value as an intern,” as companies can save up to $40,000  by converting an intern into a full-time position rather than simply hiring someone with more experience into the same position. He notes that the recent shift of company focus back to entry-level talent suggests a brighter future for college graduates than the discouraging job market of 2009.

“Some industries, like financial institutions, almost entirely stopped hiring entry-level talent from 2009 until just this past year,” Buzbee said. “But we’re seeing financial institutions like Union Bank and Wells Fargo that are coming to us saying, ‘We don’t have much of a pipeline now, we’re missing this whole entry-level tier of our employment, and we’re realizing how important interns are.’”

Tips for the Resume

Don’t depend on your resume: “There’s a temptation to make the resume ‘the thing,’” Buzbee said. “The resume is a tool. You don’t expect a tool to build a house — the builder builds a house. So don’t ever lean so hard on your resume that you think that’s what’s going to get you a job.”

Frame your experience: “I think knowing how to position your experience [is important],” Buzbee said. “Don’t just call yourself a manager in a dining hall. Did you lead a team? Did you problem solve? How many customers did you interface on a regular basis? Know how to frame your experiences.”

Don’t forget to be interesting: “Companies are interested in interesting people,” Buzbee said. “If you’re an economics student who has an interest in coding, tell them that … We have such interesting students here, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come out on paper sometimes.”

A good resource to prepare: Alumni Advisor Network on the Career Services Center website. Over 700 alumni in all disciplines have made themselves available to consult with you and critique your resume.

Tips for the Interview

Research your interviewer: “If you can specifically mention projects or topics or something that’s relevant to what that company is dealing with today, and that’s a part of your natural conversation with your recruiter, then that will make you stand out,” Buzbee said.

Practice, practice, practice: “[You can] videotape yourself and basically see what you look like in front of [a recruiter],” Buzbee said. “You can sit there and watch yourself on video, which I know is a little awkward for a lot of us, but at least you know your mannerisms and you see things that you wouldn’t have picked up on before, like hand motions, eye contact, etc.”

Talk to friends: “Talk to your friends that have gone through the process already,” Buzbee said. “If you want to work at Qualcomm, find somebody who is now a first-year employee that you know has been an intern at Qualcomm and ask them, ‘What was the interview process like?’ That’s not cheating, that’s being prepared.”

Tips for the fair

Start early: “The earlier someone can start, the better,” Buzbee said. “Ideally, a student gets [his or her] first job fair experience before they’re actually looking for a job because it’s nerve-wracking to walk into that room and talk to an employer. If you have been through anything one time, you’re going to feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Do your homework: “One of the worst things you could do at a job fair is walk up to a recruiter and say, ‘What does your company do?’” Buzbee said. “You’ve immediately disqualified yourself because if you weren’t hungry enough to do your homework, there are nine other students standing behind you that know why they’re standing in line.”

A good resource to prepare: Talented and Occupationally Prepared Program on the Career Services website. The survey can help prepare for questions about your professional objective, what companies you may be interested in and why and something you’ve done that makes you a good candidate for a job there. Tip: If you complete the survey before the fair, you’ll get in at 10 a.m., a half hour earlier than students who didn’t take the survey.