Sunday, August 18, 2013

CIA Career Fair Insider Edition

By Student Blogger Leah

Few things feel are as sweet as the comfort of a job when you are unemployed and feeling uncertain. Or when you are pre-extern and need a site. Jobs provide a sense of security and fulfillment when we are able to contribute to a company knowing that our work matters.

It is clear that CIA understands the symbiotic relationship of the desire for a job from their students’ perspective, as well as the desire for employees from the employers’ perspective in the hospitality industry. As a student, I need a job and as an employer, you need an employee—its really beautiful sometimes the way the universe aligns.



So both students and employers come together to create a space where matches can be made and all the magic happens under the guise of a simple name: CIA Career Fair. It happens each season and is another one of those CIA gems that I love telling you about.


I remember one of the chefs at a career fair in the past asked me what the best meal was that I had recently eaten. I really loved that question because it was insightful into what I deem memorable and exciting, but it was also very personal. I appreciated the opportunity to share the memory of a special meal with him.


So for this summer’s career fair, I gathered insight and wisdom from employers to share with you…

The good news
• “We understand that you are nervous and in some cases this is a student’s first interview, so we are pretty forgiving when it comes to the interview.”
• “We don’t really pay a tremendous amount of attention to your resume.”
• “We are just as interested in finding employees as your are in finding a job. This is an important investment of our time and we believe that it’s worth our time and travel expenses to come here...don't get me started on what the executive chef said when I told him that I was leaving and taking his lead line cook to come to CIA and recruit! The airfare, hotel rooms, meals, etc...but it's all worth it.”



You got it right!
• “We really enjoy telling students about our company, so we love it when they ask us questions about our philosophy or history, and are also able to demonstrate some research they have already done about us.”
• “There was one young lady who handed me a neat stack of papers. She pulled it out of a professional looking leather case and a paper clip held together a business card, cover letter, and resume. I was so impressed. Look at how beautiful that is!” (as he points at her resume packet that stuck out from all the rest)
• “We have a really high opinion of the graduates here.”
• “Some of the students we have encountered today are so professional---their dress, handshake, eye contact, etc. They’ve got it.”
• “It is incredibly important for us seasonal employers (ski resorts, beach hotels, etc.) to understand when a student is looking for a job or an extern. So when they know their dates of availability right off the bat, it is very helpful and clearly establishes the basic fact of whether we can offer them a job and whether they would even be available, and then we can go from there.”


Areas to polish
• “Look professional. Iron your shirt, wear your best jacket, I cannot stress this enough. First impressions are important and we need to see that you care.”
• “Some students will be so focused on securing a particular spot that they will make a beeline for an employer and buzz right past the rest of us. Keep your options open even if you think you already know where you want to go, there are a lot of really great companies here and this is a valuable chance to make connections.”
• “Just relax. Even if you already have an extern site or a job lined up, it can be really beneficial to just talk to employers so that you aren’t so nervous and can practice your interviewing skills.”



General pearls of wisdom
• “Looking back on my career, one of the best things that happened was when I got fired. The company’s true colors came out in the process of letting me go and I came to realize that this job really wasn’t the right fit for me. It’s important to listen to your gut and stick to your guns.”
• “Don’t debate with your boss. Just listen. And stick with a job for at least 1-1 ½ years in order to gain credibility with them.”
• “Know what you’re looking for when you are searching for a job. Understand the lifestyle you want to lead, where you want to live, what you want to learn, what kinds of resources you want to be available…think about living at the beach, a ski resort, a large city vs. a small town, and if fine dining is important to you…Just figure out what you want and then make sure you find a place that will satisfy your desires.”
• “When you come to a career fair, I don’t mean to sound crass but you’re selling yourself. Your resume is a very personal piece of paper, don’t just give it out to anybody. Get all your ducks in a row and be at your best.”


Visit the CIA's website for more information about the Career Services Office.

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