“Let me guess, you didn’t tell them about your 15 minutes of fame with the P-Funk,” my wife asked me after I told her the good news. She was referring to an old Andy Warhol comment and my former employment as a musician in LA; I was telling her about the Career Fair we had on campus. Over 50 Supply Chain companies had come to the Business Building recruiting for internships, co-ops and full time jobs. Because of the large number of companies who attend, success comes from knowing what you want and which companies are offering it. I was looking for an internship. I had already scheduled an interview with Dell later in the week, but I wanted one for a different department there as well. I also wanted to talk with ExxonMobil – my Dad worked for them his whole career and so I knew what a great company they are. I went to the Coffee House we had Monday night before the 2-day career fair where several companies each gave a short presentation and then met with students. We rotated through companies every 30 minutes. I met with the ExxonMobil recruiters and I was able to schedule an interview. Two days later at the Career Fair in the atrium, I met with the recruiters for Dell and I was able to schedule the second interview I wanted so much. Recruiters look for so many different things from students that it’s hard to know what they want. The best approach is to talk with other students who have interned or worked there to find out what the company is like. You can also find a lot of information on the web about the operations, locations and cultures of all of the different companies. Alumni are always willing to help also – so don’t be afraid to cold call them and ask questions. Career Services gets you ready for these events so you can hand your resume to potential employers with confidence knowing that they will like what they see.
I spoke with the ExxonMobil recruiters at the Coffee House just after they told the group they would collect resumes, review them that night and then call the people they would like to interview. However, I had done enough research on the company that I knew what to say and how to write my resume so that they would want to interview me. I got to sign up for a slot right then. Dell was no different; I knew exactly how to approach them. What took me by surprise, though, was where the conversation went – I don’t know how, but we got onto the topic of my musician days in LA and the recruiter not only ended up knowing who the Parliament Funkadelic was, but he was also impressed that I had once done a gig with their drummer. Yes, my experiences before coming to Smeal range all over – but I never thought (and neither did my wife) that I would be using that one to sell myself to a company.
I don’t think it matters who you are or what your background is – Penn State has such a diverse group of students and a broad range of companies who recruit here that you will be able to make the most of what is offered and companies will show up looking for you. My wife has teased me for our entire marriage about how nobody knows who the P-Funk is and how playing a gig with their former drummer won’t ever be of benefit to my new career – now when she pokes fun at it, I remind her that it was instrumental (no pun intended) in landing a great internship.
MBA Class of 2009
Sammie Markham is a 1st year Supply Chain student in the Smeal MBA Program. He has a background in facilities management and funk music.