575 students dressed to impress at Tuesday’s Career Fair

Graduate and undergraduate students networked with prospective employers and scored their summer internship or post-graduate job at the Career Fair on Tuesday.

Students came to the fair looking for an opportunity to put a face to their paper application.

“It’s nice to get your name out there,” senior Reed Reinke said.

Students dressed in professional attire and carried a handful of resumes lined up to meet employers. Some students checked off a prepared list of companies that interested them.

“I was targeting management and consulting in particular,” Reid said. “I listed out a bunch of companies that were offering internships in that area and prepared some questions, looked up some background information, so I kind of knew the nature of the business.”

Greg Walker, who works in finance at VIRA Insight, said that this type of preparation is what stands out to him when he meets students. He found that students with a confident introduction, copies of their resume and a firm handshake demonstrate preparedness.

The Hughes-Trigg Ballroom and Centennial Hall were filled with 80 tables of employers. The ballroom was so tightly packed that there was a noticeable temperature change between it and the less crowded Centennial Hall.

Executive Director of the Hegi Family Career Development Center Crystal Clayton said that the career fair gives students good training for future job searches.

“Students do better at the fair and walk away with a more holistic experience when they’re prepared,” Clayton said. “We’ve found that, when students do prepare, they have better long-term success with the recruiters that they’re meeting with.”

Some students find the environment to be stressful. They become nervous from the pressure of making a good first impression. Students like Armanii Glaspie think the best way to counter the stress is to be yourself.

“I might come up and just say something really goofy or off the wall,” Glaspie said. “Something that’s refreshing because a lot of people come in here so serious, like it’s the end of the world. I saw a guy earlier walking past me, he was sweating. Like, hardcore sweating. Some people are really stressed.”

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Glaspie (left) and Reinke (center). Photo credit: Mary Grace Metheny

Some students set themselves apart in the way they were dressed. One student wore a velvet blazer with glittery stilettos, while others wore suits printed in multicolored plaid.

This approach paralleled how employers displayed their companies, each showing the best representation of what a job working for them would be like. Companies like Bank of America and Frost sent representatives in typical business attire, but newer companies like Epsilon and Dell had their employees dress in logo t-shirts and jeans.

Clayton said the career fair offers more than just networking opportunities. It gives students ideas about jobs in the world, shows students which companies hire from SMU and sets them up for success.

“Students could walk away with an internship or a full-time position,” Clayton said.