Last year’s Reverse Career Fair was held at the Selby Auditorium. This year’s fair will be at New College of Florida and includes USFSM, New College, Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida.

Regional Reverse Career Fair to help USFSM students find jobs, internships; applications due Jan. 31

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: January 23, 2020

USF Sarasota-Manatee students only have until Friday, Jan. 31, to apply to participate in the 2020 Regional Reverse Career Fair for the chance to meet dozens of employers and launch an exciting new career.

This potentially life-changing opportunity flips the tables on traditional job fairs by making students the star of the show.

Instead of employers setting up booths to tout their organizations and entice students, students create displays to promote their skills, life story and accomplishments to attract recruiters. Apply here (via Handshake) to participate.

USF Sarasota-Manatee fair to ‘turn the tables’ on internships
Ben Hyland

“Attending a traditional career fair can be an unnerving, high-pressure experience. Here, it’s the opposite: Students and employers are more relaxed and excited. They get to know one another without rushing the conversation,” said Ben Hyland, coordinator of internships and career readiness, who’s helping to organize the fair.

USFSM held its first reverse career fair on Nov. 8, 2018. The event surpassed expectations. In a post-event survey, 17 of 22 students who responded said they were offered at least one job and/or internship, and 14 accepted, Hyland said.

Twenty-six students and 62 employers attended the reverse career fair. The concept has been adopted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers as a best practice.

“We received extremely positive feedback from the employers who participated in our inaugural event,” said Bart Stucker, coordinator of orientation and recreation programs. “A big piece of feedback that stood out is that they wanted more students and a bigger venue.”

Bart Stucker

As a result, USFSM is collaborating with the Cross College Alliance to organize the first-ever Regional Reverse Career Fair for local college students. In addition to USF Sarasota-Manatee, the event includes New College of Florida, the Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida.

The fair is set for March 26, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at New College’s Harry Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Place, Sarasota.

But students need to be sure to sign up by Friday, Jan. 31, for a chance to enter.

Once applications close, students will participate in interviews on Feb. 10-14, and finalists will be chosen Feb. 14 to participate. Selected students will undergo training on Feb. 20, Feb. 27, March 5 and March 19.

“Engaging in an event in which the spotlight is 100 percent on you can be daunting,” Stucker said. “Through our four-week training program, we provide fair participants with the confidence and skills to effectively sell themselves to potential employers. This event could literally change their lives forever.”

USFSM students may apply here (via Handshake) to participate in the 2020 Regional Reverse Career Fair.

For questions, contact Hyland at or (941) 359-4357.

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