Career Connection 2009
Free bouncy balls, tool kits and t-shirts awaited students attending Fall Career Connection 2009, but more importantly, plenty of internship, co-op and employment opportunities were also up for grabs.
Thousands of students attended the two-day event, held September 16-17 in the atrium of the Engineering Centers Building, to meet with almost 200 employers representing a variety of industries. This year, there was an especially strong demand for electrical and computer engineering students, according to Engineering Career Services Director John Archambault, and numerous software companies were on hand, including Verona, Wisconsin-based Epic, Microsoft, and Facebook, among others.
For recruiters from Oracle, a large global business software company, the resumes that stood out were the ones with solid grade-point averages and demonstrated industry experience. These fundamentals will help students get interviews, says recruiter Mengmeng Chen. “Once in the interview, we’re going to ask you about the projects you’ve been a part of before. We’re looking for intelligent people we can train to use our databases,” he says.
That companies are looking for previous hands-on experience was good news for industrial and systems engineering student Joe Madden, who is looking for a summer 2010 internship. “I had an internship last summer that gave me a lot of great talking points this year,” he says. “I was even pulled aside by a recruiter and invited to meet with him informally the next day.”
In addition to software companies, energy-related businesses made a strong showing at Career Connection. Companies including Vestas, Nexant, ExxonMobil and various utility companies were popular with students. Carl Christiansen from Integrys Energy Group says he was pleased with the turnout. “The UW-Madison engineering programs are well known, and several UW-Madison graduates are working with us,” he says. “We always come back because the cream of the crop is here.”
Overall, Archambault says there were plenty of opportunities for students, though it may take a few more months than usual for students to secure employment due to the economy. Christiansen agreed, adding that students should focus on polishing their resumes and networking both in person and online. “LinkedIn is a great way to network, since people who are hiring can look for you,” he says.