More than 300 members of the USF community gathered for “Job Fest,” a biannual event hosted by Career Services. Students were encouraged to dress business casual at McLaren Complex on Sept. 20, and could be seen speaking with recruiters from organizations ranging from the San Francisco 49ers, to KQED, and the FBI. 64 companies were represented at the event, and 43 attended the virtual event hosted the following day.
According to Yesame Kinfe, a career counselor at USF, the primary goal of Job Fest was to introduce students to new jobs and internships at organizations from across the Bay Area.
In the weeks leading up to Job Fest, Career Services invited students to two different workshops, “Resume Rush” and “Job Fest Prep.” They helped attendees edit their resumes and gave tips about how to pitch their skills to prospective employers. They were also given the opportunity to receive a $100 voucher to buy professional clothing from the H&M location at the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Vouchers were distributed on a first-come first-served basis, and were given to 34 students. According to Career Services, they were intended for those “who have limited or uncertain access to appropriate clothing for JOB FEST… and other recruiting events.”
Nam Tran, a fourth-year finance and business analytics double major, explained why he decided to attend Job Fest. “I’m interested in getting jobs in my major, but I’m also here as another way of practicing in a professional setting.” Tran also noted that for many international students like himself, finding a job has an extra sense of urgency, “I would say most [international students] are concerned about getting a sponsorship or an OPT [Optional Practical Training]. An OPT basically extends your stay in the U.S. because you have a job or internship related to your major.”
In addition to currently enrolled students, USF alumni also attended Job Fest. Stefan Ramsey, who graduated in 2022 with a degree in business administration said: “I came to this Job Fest because I think seeking every advantage that your school offers you is the best way to further your career. I wish I came to more of these as a student here.”
One employee from the Office of Alumni Engagement distributed pamphlets that encouraged students to sign up for NetworkUSF, USF’s online networking platform. The pamphlets noted that members of NetworkUSF received a 93.5% better response rate than those on LinkedIn. This sentiment is consistent with national data. According to a 2015 survey by Pew Research, Americans who have searched for a job in the past two years stated “professional contacts, close friends or family, and/or more distant personal connections” were the most “important resource” in their job hunt.
While Career Services has hosted Job Fest for over 30 years, Tuesday’s event did mark some notable changes. According to Renni Collins, an employee at Career Services and second-year student at USF, there was an effort to make this fall’s Job Fest feel more “modern.” Part of that effort meant adapting the dress code to be more casual. “A lot of employers are realizing their dress code isn’t as serious as it has been in previous years,” she said.
She also noted that while in the past, Job Fest was confined mostly to marketing and business management positions, Tuesday’s event had opportunities for all majors including STEM and education.
Cassandra Carvahal, a recruiter for Driscoll’s, said “we’re looking to hire scientists as well as positions in all departments for our consumer products.” She also noted that recruiters like herself aren’t just looking for impressive resumes. “We want everyone to work in harmony and get along well because you can’t teach personality or character. We spend time looking for that as well,” she said.
In an email to the Foghorn, Julia Hing, director of employer relations of USF’s Career Service Center wrote that last spring’s Job Fest had 93 employers attend the virtual and in-person events. Last week’s Job Fest had 107 employers attend. Hing said that this is likely due to a “tight job market.” She also added that while Job Fest normally experiences higher student turnout in the spring, Tuesday’s event recorded similar numbers to the event held last March.
Many students left Job Fest with new contacts and business cards, Kinfe said.
Jacob Bloom is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached at email@example.com.