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Students break the ICE with potential employers

By Libby Mueller, For The Miami Student

Between 1 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, Millett Hall was full of freshly pressed suits, reams of résumés and bright eyes eager to make eye contact with potential employers. The annual Spring Internship and Career Expo (ICE) was in full swing.

For help with job placement, Miami's fall Career Fair and Spring ICE bring well over 250 and 175 employers respectively each year. There were 211 participating employers at Spring ICE this year, a record high, according to Director of Career Services Mike Goldman.

"This is very encouraging to our students," Goldman said. "It means the market is very strong not only for internships but full-time as well."

Goldman said between 2,000 and 2,500 students attend Spring ICE depending on how many students found opportunities in the fall at Career Fair or elsewhere. A post-graduation survey conducted by the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) reveals the percentage of students who are employed after graduating from Miami. Although last year's survey has not yet been released, data from the 2012-2013 school year showed that 91 percent of graduates were employed or in graduate school by the fall of 2013.

This percentage does not come solely from Miami's job fairs, but they do provide many students with opportunities.

"We have some of the largest career fairs in the country," Goldman said. "And you'll have not only employers that come to the fair but more that just post on CareerLink. We have about 5,500 postings each year on campus and we conduct about 5,500 on-campus interviews as well."

According to Marketing professor Pat Lindsay, Miami has a reciprocal relationship with the employers who come to Career Fair and Spring ICE.

"It's a push-pull model," Lindsay said. "The pull is Miami's overall promotional activity: some advertising, public relations and publicity communicating Miami's many national rankings and achievements. Companies are then compelled to approach Career Services and say they want to come recruit on campus."

The push, Lindsay said, is Career Services and corporate relations departments within each individual school at Miami working to build relationships with employers.

Goldman said Career Services also develops a target list each year of companies they know students are interested in.

"We're constantly developing new relationships with employers that we've targeted because students are interested or the employers are in emerging markets," Goldman said. "In talking with faculty, students, development and alumni, we've developed a target list each year of new employers. Amazon is a good example. They have come for two years now."

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Career Fair and Spring ICE are open to all majors, fields and interests, although most of the representatives are from for-profit corporations. Lindsay said he would advise, before attending job fairs, sitting down and outlining what it is you really want to do.

"Always start with what you want to do," Lindsay said. "You don't necessarily have to do that in your very first job, but I ask every student, if you could choose any company, position and location, what would you answer? Set the bar high. Ask yourself what you want to do and start there."

Lindsay said it is also important to take advantage of the online resources Career Services offer.

"Use the online information that Career Services does an excellent job providing," Lindsay said. "Do some homework and see if any of the companies coming fit that profile. Then do more research on that company to give yourself the highest chance of impressing them."

Sophomore Tio Liang attended Spring ICE on Wednesday. He said he did his homework as Lindsay and other professors advised.

"Before I went to Spring ICE this year, I did some research on the companies that I might be interested in or fit my major," Liang said. "When I got there, at first, I was actually nervous. However, after talking to some companies, I felt more and more comfortable. It was a process of learning for me, learning how to behave more professionally."

According to Lindsay, one of the best parts of seeing students attend job fairs like Spring ICE is talking with employers who have decided they want one particular student, not only because he or she is qualified, but because of a bond with the student. Lindsay said getting a job is not only about qualifications; it is about relationships.

"These companies are here and have a choice of hundreds of qualified students," Lindsay said. "But companies don't make decisions, people do. It all comes down to developing some level of trust and rapport."