Is Career Fair Networking Really So Hard? Four Tips for Students

Check out this simple list of tips for networking at job fairs. The On-campus Job Fair happens on Aug. 27 and the Part-time Job & Internship Fair on Sept. 16!

Is Career Fair Networking Really So Hard? Four Tips for Students.


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Reflections of a Senior: A Realistic Emotional Response to the Culmination of Undergraduate Studies

At this point in time, a vast number of college students are mentally preparing themselves to graduate from their respective universities, and similarly to myself, they have subsequently become stricken with panic. Fortunately for us, the students of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, the Career Center is not only a source of career insight, but also one of professional development.

There is seldom a day that has passed in these last few months that I have not paused and allowed the realization of the fact that I will be graduating in five months roll over me. As I begin the last leg of my undergraduate journey, I can’t help but reflect on all the time and effort I have put into my education, and it seems almost surreal that I have made it this far. I am by no means an overly-emotional individual; however, in recent days I have become increasingly nostalgic in regards to my semesters past, as well as my employment experiences during my time at this university.

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Guest Blog: Erica Gordon and Her Time in the Washington Center Program

Erica Gordon, who is an USFSP student currently in the Washington Center program, is a Senior majoring in Political Science. Erica is currently in Washington, D.C., interning  with The Human Rights Campaign. Below is her guest blog post about her experience in the Washington Center program – enjoy!


Doing an internship is a great way to figure out exactly what you want to do. There is an opportunity and an internship for everything in D.C.– business, non-profit, politics, international relations, international development, and even event planning,. If you’re interested in it, someone in D.C. is looking for free help. I applied to my internship program with the intent to work in domestic violence advocacy and somehow ended up at the largest LGBT rights group in the country. I work in the development department of The Human Rights Campaign when I’m not doing that, I’m doing quite possibly 23,482 other things.

In the four months I’ve been here, I’ve campaigned in New Hampshire, watched Bill Clinton give a speech, met Cyndi Lauper, and visited the National Mall more times than I can count. In addition to numerous opportunities, there are an astonishing amount of free activities to take part in. I still haven’t been to all of the Smithsonian museums or attended one of their sessions of how the crew for House of Cards dresses their sets.

If there is one piece of advice I can offer, it’s to go to every free event you can– especially if it’s sponsored by your internship site. My internship site hosts around 3 events on site a week, and in the Fall does two very large events, Chefs for Equality and the National Dinner. As an intern, I was expected to participate and be at both, and it was beyond my wildest dreams to have an opportunity to hear Bill Clinton speak at an amazing fundraiser. If an event isn’t scheduled, make one! Ask your colleagues out for coffee or lunch. They’ll probably pay and they’re more than happy to speak with you about what they do and how they got where they are. I’ve had coffee with the Chief of Staff, members of the legislative council, the events manager, and the head of the HRC PAC. Sometimes, I’ll plan a coffee meeting around a free food meeting and sail my way through the day on free goodies.

If you’re considering doing an internship, know your worth and your options. You know what skills you have and it’s up to you to find an internship site that can build on those skills and your professional character and experience. The internship life isn’t always glamorous and it isn’t cheap, but paid internships do exist and D.C. is overflowing with interns and college students looking for roommates. If you’re looking for a way to stand out from the crowd on your resume, an internship is the way to do it.

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The Washington Center is a non-profit, educational organization located in Washington, D.C. The Washington Center has fall, spring, and summer internship programs that allow students to gain experience and help students build a foundation for their careers.

Pictures are courtesy of Erica Gordon. 

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Personal Branding Online: The Social Media Fishbowl


Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. Most of us wake up and immediately check our phones to see what we missed during the time we were asleep. Looking around at a restaurant or any other public place, most people are glued to their hand-held devices and are updating their statuses or checking up on what’s going on. Our world has entered a digital age, where social media has taken priority in our lives. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s important to realize the impact of our social media posts.

In a job search, you may be the best candidate, but when an employer sees that picture of you from Spring Break doing a keg stand, you may not  be the favorite anymore. It’s important to remember that what you post is not just visible to your friends, but is searchable and can be found by anyone. For example, 94% of employers use LinkedIn for recruitment purposes. Next, 93% of employers will look at a candidate’s social media profile before hiring them or not. Furthermore, 55% of employers have changed their hiring decision based on a candidate’s profile. Check out this infographic from Jobvite’s “Social Recruiting Survey Results 2014” presentation, showcasing the reasons why employers changed their minds:


Scary, right? Here are some tips to avoid any issues in the future:

1. Google yourself! Hey, you may not be a famous person, but your information and pictures will pop up. Doing a quick search will allow you to see what employers can see if they Google you. For instance, if you do not update your settings in Pinterest, all of your pins show up when your name is Googled.

2. Check your privacy settings. On Facebook, you can set it so that when someone tags you in a picture, you can allow it to go on your Timeline or not. So those party pictures or any unflattering pictures? They don’t have to show up. This also helps because if you are tagged in a picture, anyone can do a picture search to see photos you’re tagged in, but you have the power to allow yourself to be tagged or not! So, avoid any awkward situations by checking those privacy settings.But, beware even if your privacy levels are high, there are still public areas where your posts may be seen. Some groups are public viewing even though you must be a member of the group to post, like the USFSP Know It All’s Guide to Knowing It All.

3. Be positive! We can have some rough days and sometimes you just gotta vent, right? Well, don’t vent over Social Media. Find a different outlet, such as a friend, a journal, or something more private. We can get caught up in our emotions, that’s okay, but posting them as a status, could deter employers and others and give people the wrong idea.

4. Don’t overshare. “Just woke up and I had the craziest dream about _______,” “Heading to the gym! #gains,” “Ugh, don’t you hate it when people let you down. Like why you gotta be so rude! #overit” — Okay, we get it, some meals you have are super delicious or your working hard to get in shape, but when you start posting every day about what you eat, where you go, what you’re doing, etc, people will start to get annoyed. Tell your friends or family about the happenings of your life or your secrets, not Facebook or Twitter. Remember that nothing is private. For example, with recent leaks of SnapChats, thousands of users didn’t even know their snaps were saved by receivers.

5. Think before you post! Ask yourself, “How will others react when they read this?,” “Is this necessary?” — Asking questions like this will allow you to rethink some statuses that may not be proper to post. YikYak may be anonymous, but what if someone hacks in and leaks posts linked to usernames?
Social Media is great, but remember that it can impact your job search and other aspects of your life. It’s simple, think before you post! Use these Social Media Strategies and also utilize Social Media to help with your job search! Reach out to your followers or professionals in your field, follow organizations, and utilize professional sites, like LinkedIn, to discover organizations, professionals, and opportunities. By sprucing up your profile and becoming more aware of what you post, your job search and your professional realm will be better!  

Statistics came from Jobvite’s “Social Recruiting Survey Results 2014.” 

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The Difference Between College and the “Real World”

College is the threshold to the real world. It’s like the grey area between childhood and adulthood. Yes, as a college student you are now in the “real world,” but are you really? Not quite, my friend. Here are some of the differences between college and the “real world.”

1. Getting a Job

College: Getting a job is mostly an option. Having a job in college allows you to make a little extra for fun or, if you’re economically savvy, paying for school or saving it for after graduation.

Real Life: Getting a job is necessary for survival! You need to get experience and you will need to develop your skill set in order to get a position for a company or organization.

2. Making Bank?

College: Making any amount of money is fabulous! Wahoo, extra coins!

Real Life: Rent? Groceries? Insurance? Utilities?These are things you will have to factor in when you seek out positions and the salaries that go with them. Budgeting is necessary in order to stay economically afloat — yay for being an adult!

3. Being There

College: So you can skip a class or two. It’s on you and no one is really going to hold you accountable for not showing up (unless your professor takes attendance). Eh, to show up or not to show up, that is the question.

Real Life: You don’t really have an option, you have to go to work and be on-time. “Time is money,” right? Well, if you don’t show up and spend time working, bye bye to the money.

4. Responsibility

College: The little things matter. Like being responsible and making sure you pay for your tuition on time or turn in your homework by the time it is due. You have responsibilities, but it’s really up to you whether you do them or not.

Real Life: Responsibility is everywhere! Making sure you pay your bills or making sure to remember things like a friend’s birthday or your parent’s anniversary. You have to adhere to your responsibilities and follow through, others will hold you accountable.


So, growing up can seem a little scary! Have no fear, college helps to prepare you for the world outside of the university walls and the Career Center can help you with the tackling things like getting a job, salary negotiation, resume assistance, and much more! We have your back and we can help you in your transition to the “real world.” Because there are some fantastic reasons to love being in the real world, too. First, there’s generally no homework, assigned readings, or papers (depending on your chosen profession). Then, there is money…REAL money, if properly budgeted enough for fun stuff like a car, vacations, shopping, etc. Finally, don’t forget about the freedom and free time!

We got the inspiration for this post from Kylie McConville and her article “20 Biggest Differences Between College and the Real World” — see it here:

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Meet the Staff: Taylor Williams


Hi, y’all! My name is Taylor Williams and I am the Social Media Manager and a Career Peer Advisor at the USFSP Career Center. This is my third year at USFSP and I’m so happy to be a student at such a wonderful school!

Being a Career Peer Advisor has allowed me to assist students with their career exploration process and I’m grateful to have helped them on that journey! Furthermore, I enjoy being the Social Media Manager at the Career Center because I love social media! Promoting our services and engaging students is great, and utilizing some of my favorite sites (like Pinterest :D) to do so makes it even better!

Along with working at the Career Center, I am also in my second year of being a Resident Assistant here on-campus. Working on-campus has been very rewarding and I have not only been able to meet and assist other students, but I have also have been able to expand upon my skills and grow as a person.

I’m a Senior here and am majoring in Mass Communications, with a minor in History. My whole life I had wanted to become a teacher, however that plan changed when I got to high school. In 2009, my parents took me to a Tampa Bay Rays spring training game and my indifference toward baseball soon changed to a passion. Coming into college, my career goal was to become an in-game host for the Rays. While that’s still an option, I’m leaning towards going to graduate school and becoming a Student Affairs professional. We’ll see where my path takes me — all I know is that it will be a fun journey!

Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I love country music and have gone to over six concerts, within the past two years, and am going to two more later this year. I have seen Scotty McCreery three times, and got to meet Joe Nichols after his concert!
  2. I love quotes! One of my favorites is “We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too. — Kristin Martz.”
  3. Finally, my parents are two of my best friends — that may be cheesy, but it’s so true! I love to hang out with them and explore new places together!

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Meet the Staff: Lesa Shouse Edition!



Hi! My name is Lesa Shouse and I am the Director of the Career Center. I just finished my first year here at USFSP and love it! USFSP students are fantastic and we have the most beautiful campus!

I am a huge resume nerd! I love everything about resumes. I love how they represent us, how they help us to become better people by getting new jobs and new experiences. I love how they help us to look back and reflect on all of our past experiences. I love how they are list of our strengths and accomplishments. I also love how they can always change and improve just like we can!

After graduating from Defiance College with my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations, I worked in business for a few years and realized it wasn’t a fit. After taking a secretary position on a campus, I realized that I wanted to get my Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel, which I did at Bowling Green State University.

I have worked in non-profit, banking, and higher education. I found my passion working with college students and helping them to reach their goals and dreams.

Random fun facts about me:

  1. My husband, Reggie and I have a cat whose full name is Gunner Thor Kitty Puppy Ramirez Shouse.
  2. I am a Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and received my Gold Award. Plus, I know almost every Girl Scout camp song! Let me know if you want to hold a sing along around a camp fire!
  3. While studying abroad in the United Kingdom, I got to stay at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland where they filmed parts of Harry Potter and upcoming episodes of Downton Abbey!


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