Revisiting the NYU Job Fair

August 27th, 2008 § 0 comments

This morning, I returned to an event that I haven’t been to in four years: the annual Part-Time Job and Internship Fair held by the NYU Career Development Center. The last time I was there, I was an eighteen-year-old college freshman, and I’d been in New York City for about 48 hours. Today, I was there as a representative of NYU ITS, searching for one or two students to serve as assistants for the coming year, and possibly beyond.

Some of what I saw this morning was impressive: newly-minted college students shaking hands with potential employers and doling out resumés on crisp paper. Just what one would expect to find at a career fair.

Sadly, those students were in the minority. A plurality of visitors to my booth wore jeans and T-shirts, and looked like they’d just rolled out of bed to come to a job fair. A fair amount of students sidled up to the table and asked, “So, do you have to know anything about computers to work for ITS?” Not even a “Hello”, or “Nice to meet you, can you tell me what ITS does?” Basic IT support may not require much in-depth technical skill, but proclaiming computer illiteracy is hardly the best opening gambit when approaching the computer department as a prospective hire. It startled me to consider how little many of these students had failed to think about their first impression for even a microsecond.

I was a college student twelve weeks ago and I know the temptation to throw on any old thing and stumble down to campus and somehow find your way into your own classroom. That’s what you do in college. But when meeting a potential employer, I managed to remember to ensure my resumé was typo-free and comb my hair before marching up to Company X and asking for a job. I don’t think I was a particularly special case, either: most of my peers, as well, seemed to grasp that asking for that job while wearing a “Shit Happens” T-Shirt is a poor choice. What happened?

If you are an NYU student looking for work in the network security field (or you know one), please, drop me a line.

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