Hi! My name is Lillian Seidel, and I’m a Rice alum turned staff member, currently Recruiting Coordinator & Alumni Liaison at the CCD. In a phrase, my job is to help employers recruit Rice students. I also spent time recruiting for a charter school during my senior year. Over the past 5 years at Rice, I’ve seen the expo from a few different perspectives; below is a snapshot of these experiences with some take-aways that I hope are beneficial for you.
I do not remember much from my first career expo at Rice, probably because I repressed the memory in a flurry of awkward nervousness. However, I’ll do my best to re-create the scenario for you – keeping my arms down to hide the sweat stains that betray my anxiety, I fumble with my padfolio stuffed with freshly printed copies of my resume. I am prepared with a list of employers I would like to meet, though the one goal I enter Tudor Fieldhouse with is getting out as fast as possible. I’m here on my lunch break, so aside from hoping to distribute my resume as liberally as butter in a Paula Deen recipe, I want to inquire what positions are available, how to apply, and get out as quickly as possible.
Emphasis on the “get out as quickly as possible.”
Clearly, this approach was not the most effective. I’m sure I met a few people, and I might have even seemed pleasant, but I certainly could have done more to prepare.
My senior year at Rice, I interned as part of the campus recruiting team for an organization that recruits at Rice, and I had the opportunity to table at each of the Rice career fairs. Interestingly, I experienced many different types of student interactions. Some were confident and well prepared. Others were nervous and unsure of how to start a conversation with me.
What surprised me the most were the people who picked up swag from our table without making eye contact and kept walking; a word to the wise- recruiters notice when you do that.
One of my biggest takeaways from this experience was that recruiters really, truly just want to meet awesome people and give them jobs. I was still a student at the time, yet job seekers at the fair were sometimes nervous to speak to me. It’s important to remember that as much as employers are evaluating you, you also need to think about which companies and job functions might be the best fit for you.
Setting aside time for this kind of intentional introspection will help you generate intelligent questions, and recruiters will remember these types of conversations more than a merely transactional resume drop.
It might also help calm your nerves! Also remember that the expo is a long day for employers – while just an hour or two of milling around and meeting people might tire you out, they are here all day; help them out by being genuine and adding value to the exchanges you do have.
CCD Staff Member Perspective
After I graduated from Rice, I started a new role as Recruiting Coordinator at the CCD (basically I work with employers to help get you hired!). I now get to see another side of the expo – all of the back-end, logistical work. What did I learn from this? Say thank you to the volunteers and staff in CCD and JGSB polos. You’ve seen them- they’re the ones running around like this:
A lot more work goes into planning and smoothly running the event than I foresaw as a student.
One more pro-tip: there are usually several more booths in the hallway to the side of the main gym (for the fall expo); don’t forget to check these out! Overall, though, the most rewarding part of the expo doesn’t actually come until weeks or even months later, when I hear from students who were hired by companies they met at the expo or from employers who hired some great students they first met at the expo. I love hearing the excitement from both sides.
Basically if you take away anything from my nostalgic ramblings, I hope it’s one or more of three main points:
1.) Be prepared. Let the CCD help by coming to one of our expo prep workshops or meeting with a career counselor
2.) Be genuine. Don’t just take the swag
3.) Say thank you!
Authored by: Lillian Seidel, Recruiting Coordinator & Alumni Liaison at Rice University, Houston, TX
Jones ’15 & Jones College Associate