Job Fair Candidates Impress Employers

Posted: February 24, 2014 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: February 24, 2014 at 7:00 am

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Career fair 2014

Students and alumni attend a career fair sponsored by University Career Services on the Fairfax Campus. Photo by Will Martinez

By Sudha Kamath

Many of the 180 employers who participated in George Mason University’s largest Career Fair Feb. 19 and 20 say they keep coming back to George Mason because they are impressed with the professionalism and preparation of Mason students and alumni who are looking for jobs.

“They come in suits, ready with resumes, know what questions to ask and how to answer our questions,” says Tiffany Jones of Washington, D.C.’s ABC television affiliate, WJLA-TV Channel 7 and NewsChannel 8, as students lined up to talk to her about internships and jobs. “We’ve been coming to Mason’s fairs for years because of this.”

Jones says she not only met students and alumni with communications backgrounds, but also those in the psychology and science fields.

And Christine Cruzvergara, University Career Services director, says that’s the goal for Mason’s Career Fairs, which this time attracted more than 2,500 students and alumni. “By featuring a diverse mix of employers,” Cruzvergara says, “we hope to encourage interdisciplinary education and career exploration. Our fairs are industry-focused, not specific to majors.”

career fair

Photo by Will Martinez

The Mason Career Fairs have come full circle for Haley Ashcom, a senior from Pittsburgh. The global affairs major earned an internship at the Institute of World Affairs (IWA) in Washington, D.C., after meeting IWA representatives at the Career Fair last fall. This month, she came to the spring fair to represent the institute. And this summer she’ll start working at IWA, where she’s accepted a job offer as assistant director of recruitment and networking. “I met my future employer at the fair, devised a career path, got an internship and landed a full-time position — all because of the Mason Career Fair,” says Ashcom.

This was the fourth Mason Career Fair attended by Scott Kumis of the Peace Corps. A former Peace Corps volunteer himself, Kumis knows what it takes to be in the field, and he finds Mason students and alumni fit the bill. “There’s a certain vibe at Mason” Kumis says. “It’s a very diverse campus in many respects. Mason students and alums come from all different walks of life. A greater quality comes from that.”

He also says his prospects at this fair represented various fields including, “of course, global affairs and public health, but also education, marketing, chemistry, languages. Even MBAs for our business programs.”

The two-day spring Career Fair featured nonprofit organizations, international relief agencies, retail giants, technology leaders, major government agencies, the world’s largest defense contractors and intelligence experts. Some of the spring fair’s new elements: a LinkedIn Photo Booth took professional headshots that students and alumni are using on their LinkedIn profiles. A Twitter feed kept students updated throughout the fair on the latest news and developments (#MasonFair and @MasonCareer), while a Learning Lounge offered staff and technology resources.

This week, Career Services is focusing on entrepreneurship. Be Your Own Boss events are scheduled Feb. 24‒27 around campus. There is also a workshop on Life After Sports, to help student athletes focus on their futures. A Financial Expo is set for Feb. 25. Webinars on Internships in Consulting vs. Banking, and High-End Retail and Luxury Careers are scheduled this week.

Mason’s next Career Fair is planned for the fall. Job seekers can get a jump on the interviews. From what not to wear to pitching yourself to employers, tips on preparing for a Mason Career Fair can be found at the University Careers website.

Write to Sudha Kamath at skamath@gmu.edu

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