Eager Josef Korbel School students dressed to the nines in suits and heels, hit the University of Denver (DU) campus Thursday in an effort to network with potential employers and learn more about careers and internships in the security sector.
"I had a wonderful time," Katherine Goodman, a first-year International Security MA student, said. "I had an opportunity to interact with the recruiters which I otherwise would not have been able to do."
But the students weren't the only ones excited to be at the Global Security Career Fair. About 13 employers were on hand from state and federal government agencies. They, too, were eager to see what the career fair had to offer. And the students did not seem to disappoint.
"The quality and caliber of Korbel students has been impressive," a representative from the FBI said. "We've always recruited heavily from DU."
Mira Morton Luna, manager at the Josef Korbel School's Office of Career and Professional Development, which organized the career fair, said that the importance of this event was for students to understand the different cultures and skills found in different jobs within the security area- and they are not just for security students. She also stresses the value of networking.
"It's important for employers to know our students and it's also important for students to know the employers," she said.
First-year International Security MA student Amy Wong was one of about 100 such students who browsed the tables of the career fair getting to know the different agencies.
"It's good to have face to face time with the people who will be making the hiring decisions," she said. "This was more of an information session for me. It definitely helped me realize what different opportunities there are in global security."
Also on hand was the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the security and law enforcement branch of the U.S. Department of State, as well as the local Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC), which works to protect the citizens and critical infrastructure of Colorado from terrorism.
Clarissa Berkman, the Deputy Program Manager for the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program with the National Nuclear Security Administration, emphasized that security studies is critical to the mission of nuclear nonproliferation and added that career fairs are an excellent avenue for finding promising individuals.
"I was impressed by a few of the students with their breadth of experience and background," she said.
In conjunction with the career fair, the CIA also held an information session on Wednesday to explain what they have to offer and the characteristics they look for in employees, whether that be in the analytical field or the clandestine service.
One representative described what he called the "five I's" that they look for in candidates: intellect, interpersonal skills, inquisitive nature, international experience and integrity.
"Interpersonal skills are critical," he said. "Everything we do is in a team setting. Smile. Be personable."
For those interested in joining the clandestine service, a CIA representative noted that confidence, flexibility and adaptability are key as ambiguity is part of the job. She also stressed the importance of knowing yourself.
"If you can't assess your own weaknesses than you can't assess other people's," she said.
And don't forget about the writing.
"James Bond never does that in the movies but it's the best part of the job," she said.
Also in attendance at the Global Security Career Fair were the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Army JAG, Army Recruiting, U.S. Marine Corps JAG, Boren Fellowship, and the State of Colorado Division of Emergency Management. Both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) plan to reschedule their campus visits after having to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.
The two-hour event allowed students to meet the agencies on a more personal level and hone their networking skills.
"I think most jobs nowadays are found through networking," first-year International Security MA student Ryan Hull said. "There were a lot of good potential employers. I thought it was very informative."
For Matt Miller, also a first-year International Security MA student, the career fair may have found him a find.
"Diplomatic Security was very informative, very enthusiastic," he said. "They definitely sold me on checking them out."
But it will be up to him to catch it.