Career Fair

Three Ways to Enhance Your Employability for Nonprofit Jobs

By Ben Thomas, Guest Blogger

In preparation for the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on Wednesday, February 20, The Riley Guide Blogger Ben Thomas shares tips on standing out to nonprofit employers.  Stop by on Wednesday 2/20 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Panasci Lounge, Schine Student Center, to connect with more than 50 agencies searching for interns and entry-level hires.  Some agencies attending include: City Year, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Math for America Foundation, and United States Department of Agriculture.  For a full list of attendees and positions available, visit OrangeLinkCropped

Nonprofit careers are looking more and more promising to Americans who still struggle to find work. A recent report by CNN estimates that the nonprofit sector’s 1.5 million organizations generate almost $1.5 trillion in spending every year – and that the sector has continued to grow robustly throughout the recession. If you’re looking to expand your career options, nonprofit work might be just the right area for you to explore. Even so, you’ll need to tailor your profile pretty differently than you would for the corporate world. Here are three ways you can start improving your shot at a nonprofit job, starting right now.

Hone your talents
Many jobs in the nonprofit sector rely heavily on skills you may have developed elsewhere – for instance, many nonprofit organizations are in need of teachers, translators and event organizers. If your skills fall under a technical heading, you may be in an even better spot. Nonprofits need professional websites, secure networks and knowledgeable tech support staff, just as any company does – but many nonprofit managers report that their organization’s technology is a bit behind the times. Whether you’re talented at upgrading technology or sprucing up an aging public image, a portfolio of projects you’ve completed on time and under budget will serve as a strong recommendation for your ability to contribute. If you freelance at all, seek out some clients – nonprofit or otherwise – whose business model emphasizes ideals like sustainable energy or free education. These projects will do more than just boost your resumé – they’ll also give you glimpses of the nonprofit sector’s look and feel.

Learn the territory
No matter where your talents lie, you’ll want to spend some time investigating the structure and needs of some nonprofit organizations in the field that interests you the most. Nonprofit work comes with its own set of expectations: many nonprofits value compassionate ideals over  competitive spirit; personal relationships over profitable ones. Though many corporations toe lines like this, you may find that a corporate go-getter attitude comes across as excessively intense – even intimidating – to people who’ve spent years in the nonprofit sector. What’s more, nonprofit work comes with its own set of terms and titles. These don’t necessarily refer to different concepts than those used in the corporate world, but they’ll come in handy as you approach nonprofit employers for a pitch or an interview. Speaking their language, in their preferred tone of voice, will take you far in the relationship-driven world of nonprofit work.

Donate your time
When a nonprofit manager looks over your work history, one thing that’s sure to catch his or her eye is volunteer work. This doesn’t have to mean service in the Red Cross or the National Guard (though such experience certainly wouldn’t hurt). What’s important is to emphasize that your volunteer work wasn’t a one-time resumé-booster, but represents a lifelong commitment to generosity with your talents. Time is valuable for all of us, it’s true – but even some after-work hours cleaning up a local park, or a few hours a week offering free tech support to a local school, can help you show your community-oriented side to potential employers. By the same token, make sure your volunteer hours are clearly related to the nonprofit work you aim to do – whether your donated time is in the service of a similar charity, or just devoted to tasks similar to those you’d like to perform for a nonprofit organization. A little open-heartedness now may go a long way in the near future.

Though many organizations in the nonprofit sector emphasize different virtues, structures and expectations than those emphasized in the corporate sector, nonprofits still value many translatable skills and character traits. So as you enter the working world, keep your options open, and give nonprofit work a serious look. You may find that you’re pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Ben Thomas is an expert on many topics related to the job hunt. He writes about such topics for

Career Fair's Over: Now What?

In this short video, Associate Director of Employer Relations Sue Casson shares some quick pointers on how to follow up with recruiters now that Career Fair is over!

This two-minute video is worth watching if you’re curious about the next steps to take.

We hope you had a wonderful experience at our Spring 2013 Career Fair!

Click the link:
Sue Casson on Career Fair Follow-Up



Prepare for the Fair! (Career Fair, that is…)

By Shannon Andre, Employer Relations Coordinator

With the Spring Career Fair less than a week away, there’s only a little time left to get ready to impress the employers visiting campus!  Here are some quick tips to help you along the way:

1)      Have an up-to-date resume.

Even Otto has a resume!
Even Otto has a resume!

Remember that your resume is a marketing tool.  Most recruiters will spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume.  You’ll want to make a great impression!  Spend some time reviewing the Career Services Career Guide for all the basics of building a resume.  Make sure it’s free of grammar and spelling mistakes too!  Once it’s ready, have it reviewed by one of our career counselors during 15 minute drop-ins, or visit us during Resumania on Monday, February 4.  Employer experts will review resumes from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

2)      Do your research.
One of the most frequent criticisms we hear from employers is that our students have not done their research when they approach the employer’s table.  Before you attend the Career Fair, it’s important to check out the employers visiting, the opportunities they have available, and to learn a little bit about the company.  Utilize resources like OrangeLink, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the company’s website to do the background research.  It will make you stand out!

3)      Practice your elevator pitch.
When you approach an employer, you’ll give them a firm handshake, introduce yourself, hand them your resume, and then have a few moments to explain why you are a great candidate for their position.  Be prepared to speak for 30 to 60 seconds about your qualifications, experiences, and goals as they relate to the position you are interested in (this is where that research is really important).  Don’t be afraid to write it down and practice!

4)      Dress for SUccess.
First impressions are key, which is why dressing the part is so important.  Make sure your clothes are ironed and appropriately cut.  Some suggestions for business dress include: dress pants, khakis, button-down shirts, collared shirts, suits, ties, skirts, and blouses.  Remember comfortable shoes too!  Check out Career Services’ Pinterest board for some examples.

If you need additional help preparing for the fair, Career Services is hosting two workshops this week – Wednesday, January 30 from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and Friday, February 1 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  Learn how the Career Fair works, what to wear, what to bring, and how to approach employers.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, February 5 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Flanagan Gymnasium for the Spring Career Fair!

A Career in Consulting…Not Just for IT and Business Students!

By Janet Huang, Intern in Career Services

If someone were to tell me that I would be working as a consultant after graduation, I would probably look back at him or her with a very confused look on my face. As a December ’12 graduate with a public relations and international relations dual major, I thought my post-graduate career was going to either be working at a public relations agency or in-house for a corporation. Consulting had never been in my future, and I never thought I would land a job with Deloitte LLP, as a Business Technology Analyst.

I guess I sparked an interest in Deloitte when they came to Newhouse for an informational session. One of the best tips I can give to students looking for career opportunities or internships is to pay attention to Career Services.  I would have never found out about Deloitte speaking in Newhouse if I had not attended Career Fair at the Carrier Dome.

After hearing about all of the great opportunities Deloitte offered, I was surprised to find out that they needed communication majors such as myself. I had always thought Deloitte was a big financial company, but through the informational session, I found out they were much bigger than that. I decided to apply through OrangeLink and Deloitte’s website and SURPRISE! I ended up getting an interview.

Janet Huang, SU ’12

Words could not describe how anxious I was going into the interview. Most consulting firms require a standard behavioral interview along with a case interview. While I have been to many behavioral interviews, I had no idea how to approach a case interview. I pretty much thought that the questions would be extremely technical and involve complex math problems – both of which were not my strong suits. Fortunately, Career Services was able to calm my nerves a little and coach me through a case interview. I learned that the most important part of case interviews isn’t that you know technical terms, but that you know how to think logically and creatively.

It did not matter that I was not an IT student or that I didn’t know much about technology because my communications background was able to help me communicate my thoughts clearly and effectively. Similar to public relations, consulting requires you to face many different clients, most of which you have little or no background in. In order to succeed, you have to possess problem-solving skills, analytical ability, and strategic and logical thinking.  Remember: you can develop these skills in nearly all of the majors offered at SU!

Once I realized this, all I had to do was be calm and confident in my answers. The rest, you can say, is history…

I would have never thought to pursue a career in consulting, but in many ways, a lot of my PR skills matched consulting. I am thankful for being able to explore my options with the help of Career Services and informational sessions. While it may seem like that your major decides where you have to work in the future, it is ultimately the skills you gain that can help choose which path you travel.

How do I prepare for the Career Fair?

Have you heard? Next week is Career Week at SU!

Shannon Feeney, our Employer Relations Coordinator, sat down with Sue Casson, our Associate Director of Employer Relations, to gather some great advice for students on how YOU can prepare to put your best foot forward at Career Fair!


Remember that you can check out a list of participating employers in OrangeLink. Researching those employers is an ABSOLUTE MUST. Just as you’d do your homework for class, you need to put in a lot of effort before you even set foot inside the Carrier Dome.


Geared towards the government or NPOs? Our next Career Fair's for YOU!

By Shannon Feeney, Employer Relations Coordinator

It’s clear students at Syracuse University are committed to public service, so much so, that the Washington Monthly ranked SU the 14th university overall contributing to the public good in social mobility, research, and service.  Because of our students’ continued interest in making a difference, Career Services is hosting the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on Wednesday, February 22 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Panasci Lounge (Schine Student Center).  This year we’re welcoming 39 organizations from the nonprofit, government, healthcare, and education sectors!

Some agencies you can expect to see at this year’s fair are: Arc of Onondaga County, City Year, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Make-A-Wish, Peace Corps, and Utica College.  These agencies are recruiting undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students for full-time, part-time, internship and volunteer positions.

If you are interested in a career in the nonprofit or government sectors, here are some great resources for searching and applying for jobs!

1) connects people and organizations that are interested in “building a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.”  The website gives you the chance to search for jobs and internships with nonprofit organizations, find volunteer opportunities, and share events and programs relevant to world issues.

2) allows you to search for all types of jobs within all departments of government.  The advanced search feature gives you the ability to specifically search within an agency, state, or profession.

3) provides resources to understanding and searching for federal jobs and internships.  Their federal jobs page offers some great tips to finding and applying to federal positions like Financial Management Specialist for the Department of Labor or Contract Specialist at an Air Force Base.

Know of other great resources for nonprofit and government jobs?  Share them here!  And don’t forget to check out the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on Wednesday, February 22!

Resumes and Cover Letters: a Senior Session Recap

By Lauren Wannermeyer, Intern at Syracuse University Career Services

Our Senior Sessions help you to prepare!

Did you miss Career Services’ first Senior Session on Resumes, Cover Letters, and preparing for a Career Fair? Here’s what you missed!

Tracy Tillapaugh and Shannon Feeney from Career Services presented on how to make our resume and cover letters stand out among the stack and how to make an impression at a Career Fair. The theme of the session was pretty obvious. To get a job (or even just get an interview), standing out is key.

Tracy kicked off the hour with a brief workshop on resumes, starting with the job description.

The job description
You’d be surprised to hear how many people do not even completely read through a job description before applying for a job. This is an imperative step. If you don’t completely survey the job description, it’s impossible to be strategic with your resume. The idea is to put the most applicable work experience at the top, where it is most likely to be read. It may sound tedious to tailor your resume to every job you apply for, but if you just have a few separate sections (specialized experience, leadership experience, etc.) you can organize them based on the requested skills and experience on the job description.

Recruiters say they pay most attention to the top half and the bottom three lines of a resume. Be strategic with how you place your work/internship experience and your special skills.

We have all heard that resumes shouldn’t be more than one page. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to weed out irrelevant information. You want the experience on your resume to be relevant to the job you are applying for. This might mean taking some things out. While all of your clubs and involvement in college might have been formative, it might not be applicable. Keep this in mind.

Action Words
The next tip is to focus on action words. You should start every bullet point with a verb to kick off your description. Recruiters cannot get the full picture of your experience from a simple listing of the company you worked for and your position there. You should use verbs to explain your duties and responsibilities and try to relate them back to duties and responsibilities listed in the description of the job you’re applying for.

An Objective
Tracy’s final tip had to do with listing an objective. Think of your objective as a headline. It’s a brief statement of what you want to do. It helps recruiters clarify why they have your resume. It’s especially helpful when you’re at a career fair. Company reps are often at fairs recruiting for a variety of positions and they will have a hard time remembering why you spoke with them if your resume does not make your objective clear. An objective statement is completely optional, but it’s something to consider if you’re set in what kind of position you aspire to receive after graduation.

As the workshop continued, Tracy spoke about cover letters. Cover letters are often even more frustrating than resumes. They need to be even more specific to the position you are applying to. If there is one key point when it comes to cover letters, it’s relevance. Examples also matter. You can use all the adjectives you want to describe yourself and what kind of worker you are but it will never have the same effect as an anecdote that displays why you possess all the qualities that they are looking for.

Research is a MUST before Career Fairs

Next, Shannon offered excellent tips on how to make the most of career fairs. Her first tip was to do your research. Find out what companies are attending, figure out what tables you’d most like to visit, have your resumes set to go with those companies in mind. Look up the company’s website and social media accounts. Be prepared to have a conversation with the recruiter. You should never go up to a table and say “Tell me about your company.” If you’re serious about applying for a job, you should be able to tell them about their company and why you’d make a good fit. OrangeLink is a great resource. It allows you to look up the companies that are attending, their website and what positions they are recruiting for. Use it!

Next Shannon advised to have your elevator pitch ready to go. Most of us have had to come up with one at some point or another in class. Your elevator pitch should be brief and informative. It should have flavors of your personality and be memorable. These things are hard to achieve. If you have trouble coming up with your elevator pitch, Career Services can help!

If you’re nervous about talking to your dream company, practice. Start by going to a company you’re a little less interested in to warm up. You might find after working out the kinks with a less stressful company, you’re ready to go. Finally, don’t forget to apply. You can’t apply for jobs at Career Fairs, but you find out about a lot of opportunities. Maximize them by applying. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t!

Don’t miss the next Senior Session on Wednesday, February 15th at 3:30 p.m. in Hall of Languages room 207. Chuck Reutlinger will offer a workshop on Job Searching Secrets. Then, on Wednesday, February 22nd, same time, same place, Kim Brown and Dan Klamm will help you to understand how social media plays a role in your job search and why you MUST be on LinkedIn. RSVP on Orange Link!

Ready, Set, Go…To The Career Expo!

By Shannon Feeney

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to connect with employers!

If you’re looking for an internship or full-time job, hoping to expand your network, or exploring different opportunities for life after college, don’t miss our Spring 2012 Career Expo!  The Expo is Wednesday, February 8 in Goldstein Auditorium (Schine) from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is open to ALL students and alumni.

This semester, we have more than 60 employers attending to recruit SU’s finest!  Career Services is welcoming more than 30 new employers to the Spring Expo including: Aflac, Agro-Farma (Chobani), Citizen Schools, FlexTrade Systems, The Hershey Company, Intern Sushi, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, Omnicom Media Group, Parsons, Vanguard, and MORE!  And new this year, we’ve asked employers to identify key majors and interests that would be a good fit for their positions so you find the best opportunities for you. Curious about what positions they’re recruiting for? Log in to OrangeLink for a full list!

Not sure if you’re ready for the Career Expo?  Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

1)      Do your research.  Check out the companies and opportunities available on OrangeLink so you can target companies of interest and prepare a resume tailored to their positions.

2)      Update your resume.  Stop by Career Services for drop-in hours or for Resumania on February 7 (9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Schine Suite 235) to have your resume reviewed by our career counseling staff and employer experts.

Have your resume reviewed by employer experts!

3)      Practice your elevator pitch.  This 30-second introduction makes a HUGE difference in an employer’s first impression of you.  Eye contact, a firm handshake, stating your name, as well as 3-4 skills and traits that make you a good candidate are a great place to start. Practice this introduction with your friends to get comfortable with what you’re saying.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, February 8!

A special thank you to the Spring Career Expo Platinum Sponsors: General Electric, Macy’s/Bloomingdale’s, and JPMorgan Chase; and our Orange Sponsors: Iberdrola USA and the New York Army National Guard.

Sales: So Much More Than Cold-Calling

By Shannon Feeney

Cold-calling is so last century! (flickr / zigazou76)

There seems to be a stigma around the word “sales” when it comes to job seekers.  The images that come to mind are of cold-calling for new clients, salaries based solely on commission, and forcing people to buy something they don’t want.  I am hoping this blog post will help debunk some myths and shed some light on why you shouldn’t shut the door on a career in sales.

1)      Let’s consider sales for what it really is – account management, relationship building, and business development.  If you have a knack for working with people, love the idea of not being at a desk 24/7 and might want to own your own business, then maybe sales is for you.  Take a look at the job descriptions for sales positions in OrangeLink see if they are a fit for you!

2)      Not ALL sales positions are commission-based!  This is why it is so important to do your research into company-specific sales postings.  Many employers will offer their staff starting salaries with the potential to earn more.  Even starting salaries for entry-level sales positions are higher than perceived – according to’s salary calculator, the average salary for an entry-level sales representative in New York City is $59,000.

3)      The job outlook is good!  A recent article from US News listed sales manager and representative as one of the “hot jobs” that will be hiring this year. (We can’t disagree either – look at the positions employers are hiring for at the upcoming Spring Career Expo!)   This isn’t a new trend either; CNBC reported that sales was one of ‘The 10 Jobs Most in Demand in 2011.’

So before you completely shut out an opportunity in sales, I encourage you to do some more research.  Talk to the employers at the Career Fair hiring for sales positions, connect with alumni on ‘CuseConnect (through LinkedIn) who have started their careers in sales, and attend Career Services events such as ‘Sales Forecast: Successful’ on February 23 (6 p.m., Hall of Languages Room 114) to hear what working in sales is REALLY all about from the people who know best.

Perfecting Your Career Expo Resume

By Chuck Reutlinger

Our Career Expo is Wednesday, February 8, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. in Schine’s Goldstein Auditorium. In this blog post, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shares his advice on making your resume stand out from the crowd.

First impressions count!

Creating a positive impression at a career expo starts with a good visual impression and is frequently followed by your presentation of your resume to an employer.  Most employer representatives will likely skim the document quickly and then either ask you some questions or wait for you to carry the conversation further.  Naturally, the easier they grasp your qualifications and selling points, the more they will focus on your specific interests and their specific opportunities.

5 tips to help you maximize the impact of your resume:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read.  Don’t use fonts that are too small, e.g. less than 10, or too decorative.
  2. Make sure you present your sections of information in the order of their likely importance to the employer.  Not sure what will be important?  Research the positions they may be seeking to fill by reading OrangeLink profiles or using other career information resources.
  3. Take a broad view of experience and don’t arbitrarily position voluntary roles to a section down the resume if they really allowed your selling points to be revealed better than some miscellaneous job you had just to make pocket money.  Integrate them instead into your Experience section and make sure your wording conveys the right message.
  4. Consider starting with a Qualifications Summary right after your contact information wherein you place 3 or 4 bullets under this heading and briefly capture skills, experiences and traits that relate to their needs.  It can alert skimmers to what is found below and thereby encourage their closer inspection.  It might also be all they use to then engage you in a more focused conversation. You might alter your summary for employers of different types if you mean to explore different career paths.
  5. Choose your words calculatedly as you describe experiences and activities so that the lead verbs in a phrase convey the skills you used to accomplish a result.  Don’t use “helped” or “assisted” or similar lead verbs since these don’t convey skills; focus on how you assisted or helped.

Recognize that your interactions with employers may be brief and that your resume may trigger a positive experience.  Note as well that your resume will remain with an employer after you have moved on to another employer, so attention to its construction can help them specifically remember you among all the students they may see.

Good luck!

For last minute assistance with your resume from employers, visit us during Resumania in 235 Schine, on Tuesday 2/7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First come, first served!