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Scenes from the 2023 Job and Internship Fair at USF St. Pete.

The annual Job and Internship Fair brings dozens of businesses and organizations to campus to speak with students and alumni about employment and career development opportunities. Photo from the 2023 fair by Cliff McBride.

Job and Internship Fair provides first networking and career development opportunities for many students

By Matthew Cimitile, University Communications and Marketing

For the last six months, Madison Day has helped research the growing microplastics problem in Tampa Bay and learned to write and apply for grants at a local non-profit. 

Through her internship with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, which seeks to conserve and beautify the county’s natural environment, Day is absorbing a lot about marine biology, her major at USF St. Petersburg. The impactful training is strengthening her prospects for getting a job and clarifying the type of career she envisions for herself. 

“I always wanted to do research, and being part of the microplastics team where I got to sample and do lab work solidified that,” Day said. “But this is such a well-round experience, and it opened my eyes beyond just research to the importance of community engagement and working on a team that helps with fundraising and developing educational materials that support your research.”

She received this opportunity by attending the Job and Internship Fair held at USF St. Petersburg. The fair brings employers, students and alumni together to discuss career development opportunities. 

The campus hosted around 80 employers for the 2024 fair that took place on Thursday, Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Student Center Ballrooms. Raymond James Financial, Pinellas County Government and Clearwater Marine Aquarium were among the organizations looking for students to become part of their teams.

Students such as Phoebe Workman, who also attended the event last year and received a summer internship with W3 Insurance (Wallace, Welch and Willingham). That internship grew into a part-time position with the company.

“At that time, I just moved to St. Petersburg and knew I needed to network. This became the first event where I could talk to multiple employers at one time and give out my resume in person,” said Workman, who is a senior Finance major. 

Leading up to the event, Workman went to a job fair prep session put on by the campus’ Center for Career & Professional Development to finalize her resume, work on an elevator pitch, practice networking skills and even pick out professional attire via the Career Closet, which allows students to borrow business clothes free of charge. She then spent more than an hour at the fair learning about financial internship positions with multiple employers while passing out her resume and exchanging contact information.

A couple days later, she followed up with emails.

“I wanted to remind them of who I was and my interest in their summer internships. I ended up getting three interviews,” Workman said. “The follow up is really important, it is a way to stand out by going out of your way to connect.”

Her internship experience allowed her to learn all aspects of the business, from filling out financial spreadsheets to emailing key client communications to working alongside insurance brokers. The experience sparked an interest in sales and customer relations that she hopes to explore after graduating.

Internship experience Madison Day

Madison Day participating in a clean up event during her internship with Keep Pinellas Beautiful. She received this opportunity by attending the annual fair on campus.

More than 90 percent of students who attended the event the previous two years say they were able to connect with an employer in their area of study or interest, according to the Center for Career & Professional Development. Such networking is the initial step to exploring potential internships and future jobs. 

“Go for it,” said Day, when asked what advice she would give students considering attending. “I was nervous, but you don’t know what opportunities are out there until you go to an event like this.”

The Job and Internship Fair is open to students and alumni on all three USF campuses as well as St. Petersburg College students and alumni. Professional attire is highly recommended. Career Services provides a student prep station at the event to print resumes, get headshots, borrow professional clothing and practice elevator pitches before networking with employers.

Check out more information about the 2024 USF St. Petersburg Job and Internship fair. 

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