Hundreds of University of Maryland business students got a head start last week on a new spring ritual. They polished their resumes, put on their best suits and met corporate recruiters from nearly 60 companies at the first-ever spring semester Undergraduate Career Fair.
Ashlee Kerkhoff, director of undergraduate career programming at UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, says top companies, especially in accounting and finance, have heavier recruiting in the fall. But more employers are increasing spring on-campus recruiting activity for externships, internships and full-time positions in all business functions.
“There’s been a big spike in spring recruiting,” Kerkhoff says. “We want our students to take advantage of that. They need to understand that employers are looking for talent all year — not just in the fall.”
Smith’s Office of Career Services previously offered a virtual career fair in the spring to supplement the school’s main undergraduate recruiting event in the fall. But Kerkhoff says the current jobs market demanded something bigger.
Instead of interacting online, students got to meet prospective employers face-to-face. “You get to feel the vibe of each company,” says Ebrahim Rahmani, an accounting/marketing double major scheduled to graduate in May 2016.
Karli Brummer, a supply chain management/marketing double major scheduled to graduate in May 2016, says students and recruiters benefit from the interaction. “You’re getting a lot more out of each company than you could ever get on a website,” she says. “You learn about the culture from someone who’s in the company.”
To help students navigate the recruiting process, the Smith School requires all freshmen to take a career search strategies course taught by human resources professionals. Participants develop their personal brands, write resumes and cover letters, and practice interviewing skills, salary negotiation and elevator pitches.
“The Smith School really gets its students prepared,” says Marcela Giraldo, an accounting major scheduled to graduate in December 2016.
Overall, more than 450 undergraduates and alumni participated in the spring fair, where they met 228 representatives from 59 companies. Kerkhoff says about one-third of participating recruiters were Smith School alumni.
Companies included retail giants Amazon.com, Target, Macy’s, and Kohl’s; finance leaders Capital One and JPMorgan; the “Big Four” accounting firms Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC; top consultancies such as Accenture; technology leaders IBM and Bloomberg; government agencies including the National Security Agency and FDIC; the world’s biggest auto company Toyota; and leading consumer brands Johnson & Johnson, McCormick, and Stanley Black & Decker.