What hat will you wear? Check out USC job fairs
By Megan Sexton, email@example.com, 803-777-1421
The first step to becoming a Noogler – the name given to new Google employees – for University of South Carolina students comes Sept. 19, at Career Fest, one of two USC Career Center job fairs being held concurrently this fall.
That’s when more than 143 companies looking for interns and full-time employees will fill the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, scouting for potential candidates. For the first time, Google will join the ranks of the firms recruiting at Carolina.
Google recruits all over the country, and the team that will be at USC focuses on the nontechnical side of the company, including areas such as sales and advertising, marketing, people operations, finance, new business development, video, policy and legal divisions. Google expects to visit about 50 schools this fall.
“Each year, Google’s University Programs team gets together to discuss our on-campus strategy and our plans for the fall. We look at both quantitative and qualitative information to make these decisions. Last April, the Career Center from USC reached out, and gave me some great info about the college and programs that it offered. When the time came to talk about on-campus outreach, I was able to provide lots of details about USC offerings and ways for Google to get involved,” said Demian Caponi, a university programs specialist with Google. “The team agreed that USC sounded like a great place to expand our outreach. This will be the first year for us on campus here, and we're very excited.”
Caponi said Google doesn’t look for specific majors when it interviews students, and the company encourages students from all areas to apply.
“We look for students who have a capacity and interest in learning – and will continue to learn – on the job and from their peers,” he said. “We’ll be on the lookout for high-quality students across the board.”
Throughout the year, Google runs a series of programs for students, including the Summer BOLD (Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development) immersion program for freshmen (a five-day peek into life at Google), AdCamp for sophomores, (a three-day experience focused on Google’s sales department), and the Google Student Veterans’ Summit (a two-day conference for student veterans). The largest program is the BOLD summer internship, an 11-week paid internship at Google offices all over the country for rising juniors and seniors. Google also is on the lookout for graduating students who are interested in full-time positions.
“Google is growing and we’re always trying to find students who want to do cool things that matter,” Caponi said.
Many employers at job fairs
And while Google – ranked by Fortune as the No. 1 best company to work for in 2012and ranked by Glassdoor as the best internship program for 2012 – is the highest profile employer expected at the Sept. 19 Career Fest, the firm certainly isn’t alone.
USC’s Career Center, which provides students with help to find internships, co-ops and full-time jobs, has increased its staffing and focused on employer outreach over the past year. The number of employer site and consultation visits by Career Center staff in the past year increased 43 percent from the previous year. The investments are paying off. Employer registrations for this fall’s job fairs are up 19 percent for Career Fest, which focuses on nontechnical positions, and 33 percent for Science, Engineering and Technology jobs. Among the 143-plus employers who will attend the fairs are Boeing, CNN, Exxon Mobil, Frito-Lay, Microsoft, Kohl’s, Nestle, Newell Rubbermaid and Vanguard.
Students are taking notice, too, with 37 percent more students attending fairs in 2011-12 than the previous year.
Not only are employer registrations for career fairs higher, job and internship postings are at record levels. In 2008-09, the Career Center posted 1,055 full-time positions and 311 internships. In 2011-12, that number grew to 2,037 full-time positions posted and 727 internships.
The record number of internships fits right into the Career Center’s focus on experiential learning.
“The key to making college students more attractive to potential employers is relevant work experience found through co-ops and internships,” said Tom Halasz, director of USC’s Career Center. “It’s imperative for students to get that work experience as early as possible. They aren’t competitive without it.”
One student's story
One Carolina student who can vouch for the effectiveness of the Career Center is Kevin Ochoa, a junior international business and finance major in the Darla Moore School of Business. During his freshman year he visited the Career Center for help putting his resume together. While there, he met with a representative of INROADS, a program that helps students from diverse backgrounds connect with employers for internships.
After a 90-minute conversation, the representative encouraged him to contact Google and apply for the company’s BOLD Diversity Immersion Program for Freshmen.
He did, was accepted and Google flew him to New York for a five-day introduction to the company.
“I got to see what makes Google one of the best places in the world to work. It got me hooked and it prepared me to do what I needed to do to get an internship the next summer,” Ochoa said.
“The Career Center made sure my resume looked good. They got me ready to apply to Google,” he said. “It speaks to the high standards the Career Center holds for the people who come in. They aren’t just going to ‘OK’ your resume, they will ‘OK’ it to make sure a large, national company will be impressed.”
Google was impressed and Ochoa spent 11 weeks this past summer as a Google intern on the customer sales team in New York, working with large auto manufacturers to help re-envision their social media presence. Before the internship, he spent a week training at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.
Ochoa, who is from a Chicago suburb, is now a Google student ambassador, helping promote the brand year-round. He will help the Google recruiters who visit USC in September, providing a student perspective during talks to business classes and at the career fair.
Vicki Hamby, the Career Center’s associate director for employer relations, said students who are interested in securing opportunities similar to one Ochoa had with Google should connect with the Career Center as early as possible during their college careers. In particular, she said students should take advantage of September Success, a month-long program designed to prepare students for the Sept. 19 job fairs: Career Fest for nontechnical positions and the SET fair for technical jobs.
Students can stop by the Career Center 1-4 p.m. weekdays. No appointment is needed.
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