UF retreat to show employers how to snag graduates
Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.
Recruiters from more than 50 companies will get a crash course Friday on how to pitch themselves to graduating University of Florida students and how to get around the sprawling campus.
It’s the second year the UF Career Resources Center, which was ranked first for student resources by the Princeton Review in 2010 and ‘12, has held the “employer retreat,” said Dana McPherson, the center’s assistant director for marketing and communications.
“We kicked off the employer retreat last year just to have an event that could be a resource for employers to help them with branding tips for recruiting students on campus,” McPherson said. “It was a success last year, so we wanted to expand on it.”
By Wednesday evening, 81 reps from 53 companies had registered. Last year, the event attracted 55 reps from 39 companies, McPherson said.
“We were expecting the same amount with some increase, but it has definitely exceeded our expectations and we’re still getting registrations,” McPherson said.
One of UF’s benchmarks for measuring its progress toward Top 10 status is increasing the number of students who get jobs after graduation. The percentage of undergraduates who got jobs in 2011-12 was 44 percent, while another 24 percent went on to graduate school, according to UF figures provided to the Board of Governors.
UF’s goal is to bring that percentage up to 46 percent.
According to a survey of graduating students in Spring 2013, 60 percent of the students who responded said they expected to be working after graduation. Another 2,371 students, or 40 percent, said they had secured a position.
“For us, this aligns with the goal of increasing employment (for UF graduates),” said Ja’Net Glover, associate director for Employer Relations. “If employers know how to connect to our students, and understand how to navigate the campus, they have increased success employing our students.”
McPherson said the retreat is a way for the CRC to demonstrate its expertise and tell the employers about new programs that UF and the center will be starting this year. The participants will have a meet-and-greet Thursday followed by a tour of the football stadium and facilities and dinner at the Swamp with Heather White, director of the CRC.
After introductory remarks Friday morning from David Kratzer, vice president for Student Affairs for UF, the participants will hear from White and Glover. They will then spend the day in breakout sessions and workshops on topics like “Building Your Brand,” “Diversity and Recruitment,” and “To Be or Not to Be Social.” A student panel discussion is also scheduled, McPherson said.
Thousands of employers are on campus each year looking for recruits, she said. Workshops and job fairs are conducted throughout the year, the biggest of which is coming up Oct. 1 and 2, Glover said.
“Our career showcase is the largest in the southeast,” she said, with 300 employers attending during the down economy and up to 500 during more robust times.
The CRC conducted more than 9,000 on-campus interviews last year, sometimes with candidates interviewing more than one prospective employer, Glover said.
Another 7,000 students came in for face-to-face career planning services, and 5,000 students accessed the CRC online, she said.
“We probably serve about a third of the student population between all of our student services,” she said.
On-campus recruitment alone has grown 30 percent since last year, a sign that the economy is growing again and that employers are committed to UF, Glover said.
“We are seeing increases each semester,” Glover said. “Employers are saying that their hiring needs are increasing, and they are also coming to UF to recruit for many other industry areas.”
They are looking for students who have a broad set of skills in both social and problem-solving arenas, for careers in consulting, information systems and technology, she said.
“There is a desire for a student who can do the analytical component but also has the people skills,” she said. “Where career centers come in handy, we have the opportunity to educate our employers about our student population and demographic … to give them an idea of what skill sets that student might bring to their company. That is a big effort for us to be able to do that.”