CMU students attend job-search conference

Students from Carnegie Mellon were among those to attend the Career and Internship Connections (CIC) event earlier this month. The conference, held in major cities across the country, took place between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, and included undergraduate students from a range of schools. 18 institutions were represented in total, including Johns Hopkins University, Washington University in St. Louis, Tufts University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

The event first began in 1999, founded on the principle of “bringing students to the employer.”

The event is specifically designed for students pursuing career and internship opportunities in business and the social sciences, and to a lesser extent healthcare and hospitality. Rather than making numerous campus visits, employers can meet with large numbers of students who are home over break near major metropolitan areas. Also, many of the companies hiring operate out of the respective city, which would be ideal for students who are looking to work or intern from home.

Drawing on the success of the original event in New York City, additional events were started in Boston, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. Now, the organization garners nearly 5000 student applications. New York, host to the largest event, brings in about 750 students and 95 employers every year.

The CIC attracts a large number of students because it offers same-day interviews. Students must submit their resumes to prospective employers a month ahead of time, while additionally registering for the interviews. They meet with the employers after the career fair for a half-hour time slot, either in a group with others or individually. For students who did not sign up for interviews prior to the Nov. 30 deadline, around 20 to 40 spaces are typically left open for employers to offer last-minute interviews on the day of the event.

The day is organized into two parts: a morning career fair and afternoon interviews. Employers table with at least two to three recruiters, who interact with students and disseminate information about the company. Companies are divided into rooms based on what category they fall under, such as financial services, healthcare, or nonprofits.

Although the best chances of landing a job or internship position are with the same-day interviews, many companies at the CIC do not offer interviews and may reach out to students later after screening their resumes. Companies often have separate recruiting processes and may refer conference attendees to separate application processes. Employers at the CIC are very diverse in makeup, ranging from renowned nonprofits like Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Hospital to high-power investment banks with billions of dollars under management like Black Rock.

The Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) at Carnegie Mellon is a great resource to prepare for events like the CIC.

Starting with the resume, the CPDC can help students prepare for job interviews and career fairs. The CPDC has resume guidelines on their website, which are department-specific and a great place to start out. Other services include resume checking, career counseling, and mock interviews. Events similar to the CIC take place on campus throughout the year, and most require just a Carnegie Mellon ID to enter. Additionally, TartanTrak is also an online resource for Carnegie Mellon students searching for jobs and internships.

One of the greatest benefits of going to career fairs, in addition to the prospect of getting a job, is the networking opportunities. Many of the hiring managers of companies return year after year to the same conference.

Bill Burke, the vice president of marketing at CBS consumer products, said that he recalls meeting students who built their resumes based on the advice he gave them at the CIC. For many employers, going to career fairs is a good way to keep in touch with students and offer them tips on how to be better candidates for companies. Often, if students are not qualified for the job, recruiters will hand out business cards as a way to stay in touch.

This year’s CIC was another success, providing hundreds of students with internships and job opportunities. The knowledge gained from attending these events is invaluable, and is surely a great learning experience for many.