Further Insights into the Reverse Career Fair

Written by Andrew Morin

After attending the CSER Office’s Reverse Career Fair and following my own advice from my previous post Reverse Career Fair Preparation, there are a few tips I realize I can expand upon, as well as share additional things I learned along the way.  This post is to serve as deeper insight into the fair.

Before getting into the meaty points, the most important tip must be given: arrive EARLY.  There is a quick, intense atmosphere at the Reverse Career Fair, so you’ll want to get there early to avoid as much confusion as possible, and acclimate yourself.

And once you’re in the fair…

Poster Boards

  • You notice them when you first walk in.  Make them clear, but a little flash doesn’t hurt.  With many poster boards towering employers, make yours speak differently.  Better yet, present a picture slideshow on a laptop alongside an informational (not too dense!) poster board.  Some employers are shy, but most don’t want to waste time.  A poster board is the most efficient way to pull people in.

Standing at your Table

  • Amongst the poster boards, you’ll want to be visible.  That, and you’re much more approachable, standing at your table with a smile.  There’s an essence of confidence in this standing position, as well as attentiveness.  Plus, all the employers are walking around and standing, so show them you are their equal.  Sitting down may make you appear lazy, and can trick your mind into wandering when you want to be focused.

Eager Beavers

  • Being eager will get you far.  If you are there, want to be there.  Stay alert and vigilant, making eye contact, smiling, and politely saying, “Hello.”  If you seem distant, employers will notice and also be distant.  This point cannot be emphasized enough.  The more eager you are to work for these people, the more likely you will get a chance with one of their companies.  Get comfortable talking to people about yourself: your strengths, goals, things you’ve made, things you’ve done, etc.  And don’t forget enthusiasm, for yourself and for the employers.

Swag

  • Realistically, everyone loves to walkaway with swag.  From the employers perspective: it’s gratifying and makes you that much more memorable.  It can get to a point of being showy, but walking that fine line is what will make you standout from everyone else.  Whether its stickers you designed, business cards, candy with your logo on it, or just regular candy, having something to walkaway with leaves an impression that stays with employers beyond the face-time you already had.

Pro Tip: Employers most likely already know who you are, so keep your head up if employers seem to walk by you.  Before the fair, you will need to send a short bio to the CSER Office, and this will be seen by the employers.  You will want to make your bio attractive to the employers you would like to work for the most, so that way when they see the list and are deciding who they are going to see, you are one of those people.


Keeping all these things in mind will almost guarantee a successful Reverse Career Fair.

A Beginner’s Guide to the CHOICE Internship Program

Written by Andrew Morin

You’ve heard of the CHOICE program…okay, maybe you haven’t really. Oh, whispers of it? Maybe?  Well this post will outline this amazing internship program for you, hopefully answering any immediate questions you may have.


Basically, the CHOICE Internship Program pays you for your non-paid internship.  Simple enough.  The nitty-gritty?  The CHOICE program stands for the Community/Hometown Organizations Internships and Cooperative Education program.  Ultimately, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts funds the program, giving FSU extra money to pay students for gaining experience from internship sites that otherwise would not give out money.  The program impressively pays students up to $2,000.  So, it’s safe to say Massachusetts appreciates the cultivation of knowledge.  But there are requirements for you, the student, and for the employer who you want to intern for.

Student Requirements:

  • Must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA or higher and be approved by the Office of the Registrar
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student
  • Meet the Massachusetts in-state tuition residency requirement
  • File the FAFSA form and receive Financial Aid approval
  • Earn academic credit for the semester that they participate, requiring prior faculty approval and faculty internship supervision
  • Be registered on Ramtrack

Not bad, right?

Employer Requirements:

  • Must be a Framingham/MetroWest-based academic center, governmental agency, nonprofit business or community organization
  • Provide an educational internship experience
  • Agree to abide by the intern’s departmental internship guidelines including supervision and evaluation procedures
  • Be approved by the student’s Internship Faculty Advisor and the FSU Internship Coordinator
  • Post the position on Ramtrack
  • Confirm on a bi-weekly basis the intern-submitted actual internship hours worked by the appropriate deadline to the internship coordinator
  • Agree to FSU Employer Internship Requirements

Once again, not too bad.  As far as finding an employer that fits the CHOICE criteria goes, you can always log on to Ramtrack and see the many employers already involved.  Though, as mentioned, if you have an employer in mind that you think meets the criteria, all you need to do is get it approved by the internship coordinator.choice

Since the start of the program in 2013, over 300 students have successfully completed internships from 141 unique sites.  You could do the math yourself, but that’s approximately $614,000 that the program has distributed to students.

It’s an alluring program with nothing but benefits for you, so if you’re interested, come down to the CSER office, room 412 in the McCarthy Center.  There, you can take advantage of all the brochures and many lists detailing the opportunities associated with the CHOICE Internship Program.  You can meet Jill Gardosik, our internship coordinator, who oversees the CHOICE Internship Program.  Plus, you can always schedule an appointment (508-626-4625) with one of the career counselors to answer your questions, and ease your worries.

When you’re looking for an internship, you’ll want to act as soon as possible: meeting with the CSER office and getting an internship in place a semester in advance.  The CHOICE program is competitive and students can only use the CHOICE internship once.  It’s first-come-first-serve because there are limited funds for the program.  Don’t wait, come down to the CSER office and make an appointment.

Fear Not the CSER Office

Written by Andrew Morin

Hello, all.  I am Andrew, the new writing intern for the Career Services and Employer Relations office.

This is my whirlwind of a first impression of an office that can be seen as frightening, but ultimately isn’t.  This office offers so much to students, and I am so new to it, that this post will barely scratch the office’s surface.  And this post isn’t meant to scratch the surface, but merely look at the surface, which alone is something that many of us students find difficult.

I, a commuter, had only been at FSU for a year when I stepped into the CSER office, so, in my naiveté, the office was as anxiety provoking as any other FSU office.

There’s two things you notice upon stepping inside the peculiar CSER office.  First, foremost, and any other extreme word for being the immediate and blatant thing one notices, the staff are exceedingly nice.  Exceedingly.  Amongst the—now, this is the second thing you notice—surely hectic atmosphere of students and staff swooping in and out, the constant closing and opening of doors, the feverish typing of emails, you’ll be kindly greeted by Wendy at the front desk, who will courteously help you in any way she can.  “Have a seat, want any candy? Water? Or Tea?”

And while you may feel as though this hospitality is a show, (and believe me, I also had had my suspicions), after being in this office for over a week, I assure you, it is no show.  And if you think the comfortability stops there at the front desk, I assure you, it does not.  Wendy is just at the frontline, the harbinger, there to give you your bearing for your travels across the calm seas that are the CSER.  From Wendy to the always-helpful career counselors, to the director Dawn Ross, everyone is astoundingly amicable and accessible.  So, as far as there being any reasonable intimidation that you might feel regarding a visit to the CSER, I stress, it is not reasonable.

Once you’ve overcome any fear of entering the office, it may be appropriate to check out the wall of various flyers and handouts to get a sense of the scope of what the office offers us students.  Resumes, internships, job search tools, etc.  This is where your mind may start to become a bit unhinged, perhaps?  Fear not the CSER office, for even this worry of pure “Oh my gosh” can be gently tended to by the caring career counselors.

Just like the rest of you, I have a lot to learn about the CSER office.  I will continue this blog, posting about the CSER office and its various facets.  This being my first post, I thought it fitting to address one’s first impressions of the office, first impressions which can perhaps leave us a bit unnerved.  There are questions many of us have that can be answered, or we can at least be guided to an answer, by just stopping by the CSER and making an appointment.  I implore you to drop by and see for yourself just how helpful and not-scary the CSER office is.