Tag Archives: job fairs

Back to GTN’s roots – talking about the job search

You might remember that this blog originally started as a way to document my failure of a job search as I was graduating from UC Santa Cruz. I’ve learned a lot since then – some of those old post are, well, maybe better left to the annals of time.

Anyway, MBASchooled asked to interview me about my business school job search process. You can read the full interview  here. Specifically, they wanted to know about recruiting for McKinsey & Co, which is where I interned last year and where I’ll be working full time, starting in a month or two.

In this interview, I really enjoyed talking about job search failure, which was something I learned a lot about back in 2009. Here’s what I told MBASchooled:

Getting dinged is not the end of the world. I got turned down at tons of companies – both consulting and non-consulting – during this recruiting process. Seriously, maybe 15 or 20 places said no. I even got a ding from another company I’d applied to … during my first week at McKinsey. That one actually felt pretty good, because those other guys were late to the party!

Does rejection sting? Of course. But life goes on, and it’s important to have that longer-term perspective. Remember that this couple of months of recruiting is not the most important thing you’ll ever do with your life.

Again, the full interview can be found  here.

Learning, Teaching, and Learning to Teach

I was hired to HP as part of the Graduate Investment Program [GIP], along with 32 other fresh college graduates from the class of 2009.  We’re all effectively the same age and at the same stage in our lives, and we’re all starting off on our respective career paths.

When we started at HP, we looked to the 2008 graduates, hired less than a year before us, for guidance and mentoring.  To us, these 2008 graduates were masters of HP sales.  They had training, experience, and expertise.  They always knew the answers to our multitudes of questions.  Even though their 10 months of experience paled in comparison to the experience of the real HP veterans of 10, 20, 30 years, we venerated the 2008 graduates as role models alongside the HP career veterans.

This week, over 50 prospective new hires visit the HP campus.  These candidates are the best of the best. Culled from hundreds of references, career fairs, and online applications, they’ve all made it through the resume screen and the manager interview already.  This site visit was effectively the third round of the process for these potential new hires.  Many of us on the team, including me, volunteered to interview a few candidates and show them around campus.

As we went through the process of talking to these candidates, reading their resumes, and weighing their work experience, it occurred to me that, starting June 1st, we 2009 graduates will no longer be the newbies.  Instead, 20 new, 2010 graduates will consider us, the class of 2009, experts in sales, successful veterans of GIP.  We’ll be mentors and leaders, providing insight and guiding these new hires in the same way the 2008 graduates mentored us.

The prospect of mentoring and teaching is exciting.  But we, the class of 2009, are still learning.   We’re still taking training courses.  For as long as we’re at HP, we probably always will be taking training courses.  We still have questions every day for our veterans, class of 2008 and before.

As the class of 2009 rounds out their our year in the real world, many of us are thinking back to last summer.  The class of 2008 hires took us under their wing and guided us, helping us effectively transition from the world of grades to the world of quotas.

We are still learning, still new to the job.  But I know that the class of 2009 will do our best to provide the same mentoring, guidance, and inspiration to the class of 2010 that we were fortunate to receive from the class of 2008.

The Great Job That Shouldn’t Have Been

Jacob DuQuette is an HP employee in my division, hired on the same date as I was. At the office, he exemplifies a drive to succeed, as well as an excellent work ethic and charisma to boot. DuQuette, a 2009 college graduate, graciously agreed to write about his unusual experience searching for a job in this rough economy.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am one of the lucky few of the class of 2009 that got a job right after graduation. Not only was I fortunate enough to land a job right away, I was able to land the only job that I applied for.

HP was coming to campus to do interviews one week a few months ago. Somehow I found out about it, and I decided I would sign up to be interviewed. I knew it was a sales job, and at the time I had absolutely no desire to work in sales. In fact, I came within minutes of completely blowing off the interview, but my girlfriend got upset that I was not going to go, since she bought be a shirt for this interview. I felt obligated to go.

During the interview, I was incredibly blunt in telling the interviewer that I didn’t have a desire to be a salesman, and that I wasn’t sure how much I really wanted the position. Apparently, I made a big impact, because at the end of the interview she mentioned how well I interviewed. She asked me to seriously consider taking this position and to give her a call or email letting her know if I wanted to continue in the interview process.

After sitting down and thinking about it for a day, I decided to go for it, even though the position would require a big move and an even bigger life change. About a month and a half later, I was offered the position.

How many people, in this economy, go into an interview they plan to blow off for a job they aren’t interested in, then give incredibly honest, blunt answers, that most recruiters probably don’t want to hear, and still manage to get hired? Let me remind you… this was the only job I applied for, the only job I interviewed for. Had this not gone through, I’d probably still be making pizzas in a crime-ridden city at about half my current salary, and I would probably be about one quarter as happy as I currently am.

I’m definitely not bragging; I’m not smarter than anyone else who interviewed. I do not have better grades than anyone else who interviewed. I did not have any experience in the industry. The recruiter just happened to have found something in me that she thought would fit well in their business model. Case in point: take every opportunity seriously, and do not be afraid of change. You never know what’s on the other side of the door.

Comparing Job Fairs: UCSC v. UC Berkeley

A disclaimer: UCSC and Berkeley are very different schools.  I’m aware of this.  However, in my last post, a brief comparison got me thinking.  One of my colleagues mentioned that Berkeley had an excellent job fair, so I thought I would do a bit of research.

As background, UCSC has one job fair each quarter (a quarter is 10 weeks).  Each fair has a different theme: in Fall, the fair is organized around private businesses; in Winter, the fair is organized around government and non-profit organizations; in Spring, students can attend the recently renamed “Last Chance Job Fair.”  The Career Center website for UCSC is here.

Intrigued, I headed over to the Berkeley career website.  On the basis of career fair options, the comparison is overwhelming.  In Berkeley’s Fall semester (a semester is 16 weeks), they had five events labeled ‘career fair,’ an additional three ‘fairs’ on graduate school options, and four more ‘forums.’  In Spring, Berkeley boasts three more ‘career fairs,’ three ‘job fairs,’ and three ‘forums.’

In 16 weeks, Berkeley has twice as many fairs ad UCSC has in 30 weeks.

38 employers attended UCSC’s “Last Chance Job Fair” yesterday.  Berkeley had a similar fair in April 23&24, called the “Just in Time Job Fair.”  147 employers attended.

Well, 146 plus or minus about ten.  It took a while to scroll through all of the listed employers, and I may have lost count of a couple.

During the massive amount of time it took me to scroll through the list of employers  or  interested in Berkeley students (I could have made a sandwich or something in the interim), it occurred to me that I might think about sending my resume to some of those employers.  While they might not be actively recruiting UCSC students, at least they’re hiring.

Edit:  A friend noted: “actually, a lot of places aren’t actually hiring. the way job fairs work is that the company reserves a spot for X amount of years, and if they don’t show up to one of the job fair events, they lose their spot entirely! so even if some of the businesses show up, they might not be hiring :( they’re just holding their spot. boo.”

Last Chance Job Fair

The surplus of unemployed means that employers, right now, can afford to be picky.  They can take the best of the best available.  For college students, this means that employers might only attend job fairs for universities where they think they’ll find the best talent.  As an employer, given the choice between going to a job fair at Berkeley and one at UCSC, I know what I would choose.

However, I was almost offended by how unprofessional the employers at yesterday’s “All Majors Job & Internship Fair” seemed.  Picky does not have to mean discourteous.  There were a host of little details that made the job fair come across as rather flat.

To start, the fair was recently, and surreptitiously, renamed – until this year, it was known as the “Last Chance Job Fair.”  Perhaps this time around, the career center thought that would be a bit too accurate, judgmental, or depressing.

In any case, I printed out ten resumes to bring along. While my resumes were printing, I checked out the List of Employers Attending, which included employers like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, a variety of finance/sales employers, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Programs, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Target, and Walgreens.  I marked off a couple of interesting ones to be sure to chat with.

There were not many employers searching for marketing employees specifically.  I did find a few who were looking for sales reps.  While that’s low on the list of careers I’m actually interested in, I figured it would be useful to stop by and talk to the employers anyway.  Ironically, because I was fairly sure nobody was going to call back anyway, it was much easier to talk to the employers.

One of the most telling details was that many of the employers listed didn’t actually attend the event, which was a bit frustrating.  AmeriCorps didn’t attend, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which said they were looking for “All” majors, didn’t either.  Both of those were on my list to talk to.

Not only that, but when I talked to Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., about their positions for Econ majors, which they had listed, it turned out they had already filled those positions last week.  Nordic Naturals had listed “marketing” rather than “accounting” under their job titles, as well.

Last year, 90 employers attended the event.  This year, 38 were listed to attend; fewer than that actually did.  That statistic, in itself, speaks volumes about the opportunities available for college seniors.

UCSC Job Fair

As I mentioned in my resume composition post, I thought I would check out a couple of job fairs on campus.  Before I went, my mother warned me that nobody every got a job through job fairs.  However, I figured it was worth a shot.

So I went to the non-profit, social services and government fair.  I know what you’re thinking:  Lisa, working in any of those categories?  Stranger things have happened, I’m sure.  At any rate, I went to check it out, at least for practice, and, probably not surprisingly, nothing really came of it.  Peace Corps looked interesting, but it always does.  There was one place that taught sports and team-building to unprivileged youth, and, given my experience teaching youth sailing with WestWind and LAMI, I thought that might be a good fit, but I wasn’t really too dedicated to the idea of making a career out of it.

I also checked out the internship fair.  Not surprisingly, it was mostly third-year students trying to get a summer internship.  I’m also a third-year student, to be fair, but I’m graduating this year.  Most of the firms were big-name accounting or consulting firms, and I asked them about full-time jobs.  They were very enthusiastic in person, but when I followed up via e-mail, they were less than lukewarm; some didn’t even respond to my e-mail.

Hope springs eternal.