A number of Fortune 500, nationally prominent and global companies consistently seek out University of Arizona students and graduates to fill internships and other positions — and some are on campus this week to connect with Wildcats.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center's ballroom, the UA's Career Services will host Spring Career Days 2016, with representatives from organizations, companies and agencies seeking to fill more than 4,500 internship and full-time positions. Amazon, Apple, Charles Schwab, Dillard’s, IBM, Insight Global and TripAdvisor are among those that will be on hand.
Also, during Monday's Employer Summit hosted by Career Services, representatives from companies and organizations that include Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, GoDaddy, Macy's, State Farm and Vanguard were on campus to connect with students.
"The UA Employer Summit consists of 20 select talent-acquisition and human-resource partners and leaders of our prestigious employer network," said Eileen McGarry, executive director of Career Services.
"We engage in discussions and planning with campus and student leaders, focusing on the staffing and development needs of our employers and the University’s goal to create career communities that graduate individuals who will be career ready and sought by top employers," McGarry said. "The summit provides ideas and direction to the campus and Career Services to reach its ambitious goals for career communities, employer engagement and workforce impact."
These events come on the heels of Career Services’ UA Fall Career Days, which attracted 190 companies from 33 states and Guam, looking to hire for thousands of positions. The career event was the largest and the first to sell out since 2008, drawing new national companies that included Bloomberg, Siemens, Stanley Black and Decker, Merrill Lynch and TripAdvisor.
As the UA continues to strengthen employer relationships regionally and nationally, Career Services hosts numerous events throughout the year that enable UA students and alumni to strengthen their resumes and interviewing skills, while also directly interacting with recruiters.
GEICO is among the companies that consistently recruit UA students.
The company's three regional college recruiters based in the Tucson office answered some of our questions about preparing for a job. Responding were UA alumni Holly Rosen and Jessica Sweet, and also Corinn Gallo.
Q: Why does your company maintain a presence at the UA to recruit students and graduates? Have you found that UA students have qualities or characteristics based on their academic and professional training that are unique?
Gallo: The UA is one of the reasons GEICO chose to open a regional office here in Tucson. Students that attend the UA are of high caliber and very prepared to enter the business world. We love to hire UA grads and help give back to the Tucson community.
Rosen: We're looking for talented college graduates and the UA has plenty. We want hard-working people with a passion for personal growth and development.
Sweet: We have recruited many great candidates from the UA in the past. We are also located close to the campus, which makes it convenient to meet students. We have many associates in the Tucson office who graduated from the UA, and they have qualities that help them become very successful and fit well within our company culture.
Q: What are some of the common misconceptions students carry about work with your company, or within your industry, and what advice to you provide?
Gallo: GEICO is open to all majors and has a promote-from-within culture. If you are looking for a career with a stable, growing company, then I’d suggest taking a look at GEICO. We have endless opportunity and can help you find a path that would be the best fit for you, regardless of what you went to school for.
Sweet: Some students think if they work for GEICO they will only sell insurance. We do have amazing sales opportunities, but that is not all we offer. We have great opportunities for leadership development programs, customer service, claims, IT positions and much more.
Q: Maintaining a social media presence is increasingly important for job prospects. What advice would you give — both the dos and the don'ts — to prospective employees?
Rosen: Keep your LinkedIn up to date, and make sure to include a clear summary that indicates what type of position you are looking for.
Gallo: Do have a LinkedIn profile. Make sure the photo is professional with only yourself in it. Do not post pictures to LinkedIn involving alcohol or other extracurricular activities that you wouldn't put on a professional resume. Potential employers will search social media, so make sure that you are proud of what we will find.
Q: How would you advise an interviewee to answer the question: "Tell me about your weaknesses."
Gallo: This is a common question and we are looking to see how you answer this question. Put a positive spin on where you feel you can improve or what you have to overcome.
Rosen: Be honest, and don't try to avoid answering the question.
Q: We hear quite a bit about the importance of being cordial and showing gratitude. For larger companies, especially those where there may be a perception that a person be hard-edged and always competitive, how is grace valued?
Rosen: It's very important to be polite and humble. Confidence is great, but no one wants to work with someone who is arrogant. Would you want to work with someone is rude? Probably not, so don’t be rude to your interviewers.
Q: What is your advice for those who do not get a call back?
Rosen: Take a look at what the position was looking for and what is on your resume. If the position is looking for a certain level of experience, being overqualified can be just as bad as being underqualified. If you’re applying for a position that doesn’t seem to fit with your background or experience but you know would be right for, a cover letter to highlight why can help.
Gallo: Do not get discouraged. One door may close, but it will often give you valuable experience so that when the right employer comes along you will be ready. Find what you are passionate about and then go out and do it.
Sweet: Do not give up, and be persistent. Everyone will fail multiple times in their life. The best thing you can do is stay positive, learn from your experience and never give up. You can always ask for feedback or go to a mentor and practice your interviewing techniques.
Q: We also hear quite a bit about the importance of having a mentor. In terms of professional and career development, how can a young professional gain experience to boost their professional and personal profile, whether with the support of a mentor or otherwise?
Gallo: At GEICO, we view mentors as a critical part of growing and developing. We provide mentors to all of our future leaders so that they can grow and learn from those who are already in the role.
Rosen: Diversify. Well-rounded candidates bring a lot to the table.