Ask the Dean

Dr. Wallace Southerland III

Ah! Times have changed since I was an undergraduate. I don’t recall going to Career Fairs when I was in college. Could have, but just don’t remember (SMH). I just went to the Career Office and asked the director to look at my cover letter and résumé. Let me start by saying that it is important that students participate in Career Fairs because they are great for connecting with employers, getting internships, finding summer gigs and part-time jobs, networking, practicing socialization skills, getting adjusted to competing with other talented students, and honing that proverbial “elevator pitch.”


Best non-Job Fair sources to find work include: 


Mentors. I am so blessed to have some great mentors as mentioned previously. Your mentors sometimes know which job opportunities are opening up and can get you connected. My first job after college was assistant to the president of my alma mater. I slipped her a note saying I wanted the job. She said, “let’s talk.” And the rest is history. She has advised me on most of my career moves. The point: choose great mentors.


Professional networks. Sometimes undergraduates and graduates get to attend professional conferences or “hang out” in other professional settings with faculty, researchers, scientists, managers, educators, and so forth. The more you network with people, and they learn you’re interested in jobs, someone may recommend you or send you a job announcement. Or, better yet, they just might hire you outright. The point: HuskyUP and network.


Job announcements. You can always apply to a job after reading an ad – this is perfectly fine. I found some really great jobs this way. One time, my wife sent me a job announcement for a job in Nebraska – yep, Nebraska! I applied. I was qualified. I got the job! Ironically, after leaving a professional conference, I was on the plane, and I looked down at “nothingness” and said, “I’d never live here.” The point: never say never.