4/18/2014 4:04:35 AM

Student's Perspective: Anything Goes in the Job Search

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By Sarah Vistocco '13

As a senior English major who is poised to graduate from Siena College in about a month-and-a-half, I have grown accustomed to seeing the slight smirk that emerges on people’s faces when I answer the one burning question that seems to always come up, “What are you going to do with that major?”

My answer: “Anything.”

While it has been my standard response to that seemingly standard question, at Siena’s recent Career Fair, I learned that it’s also true. I spoke with men and women who were dance majors working for insurance companies, psychology majors working with developmentally disabled youth and yes, even English majors working for local television news stations.

With a degree in English and a background in the liberal arts, I can do anything. But first, I’ll have to convince a potential employer to let me prove it. That is why it was important for me to attend the Career Center’s annual Career Fair.

I did not leave the Career Fair with a job offer. Yet, I did walk away from the experience with confidence, and prospects. I entered the Fair with a folder full of resumes that were quickly replaced by employers’ business cards, graduate school catalogues and volunteer opportunities for students interested in a year of service.

The Career Fair seemed intimidating at first. The Alumni Recreation Center was filled with more than 400 students vying for the interest of 100 organizations. Luckily, Annette Parisi, assistant director of employer relations, and her colleagues at the Career Center, had prepared me for the event. The Career Center sponsored workshops instructing students on what to wear, how to approach a prospective employer and how to design our resumes.

While I was getting ready, Parisi’s voice echoed in my mind as I ran through my Career Fair checklist. I was respectfully dressed. I had my folder full of typo-free resumes in hand and I double-checked my teeth to ensure that the afternoon’s lunch wasn’t joining me on this leg of the job search. I was ready for, well, anything.

Although this was my first trip to the Fair, Parisi told me that each year she hopes every Siena student, even those in their first year, attend. “For freshman, it’s a really good way for them to do some career exploration,” Parisi said. She added that if students attend each year, they have the opportunity to build relationships with returning employers.

The ability to approach a table, look a potential employer in the eye and shake his or her hand is something that Siena prepared me for over the past four years. I was able to speak confidently about my experiences and share my skills. I became so comfortable after approaching a few employers’ tables that I began to walk up to those I was only mildly interested in just to get the experience.

The ability to meet with representatives from a wide range of local and national organizations, graduate schools and volunteer programs is invaluable. The job and graduate school search has been streamlined with the use of the Internet, but there is no substitute for meeting someone face-to-face and making a strong first impression. Siena’s Career Fair gives all students, including English majors who are ready for anything, the opportunity to explore options and network with potential employers who have built a relationship with the College.

My experience at the Career Fair helped me to find my footing in the world I will soon enter. I gained confidence that I have acquired skills desirable to employers and that I can market these skills in an effective way. With commencement on the horizon, I’m still certain that I can do anything, but now I’m ready for a new line of questioning, starting with, “When can you start?”
 


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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