Holidays On-Campus: How To Maximize the Downtime

Published: Dec 02, 2008

 Job Search       Networking       

Posted by Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio

December is an interesting month for the on-campus recruiting cycle:  both for full-time and summer candidates.  Opportunities do exist, but you have to be nimble, connected to career services, and network like never before!

Most companies receive their fair share of reneges from candidates that accepted full-time offers and these usually take place in December and January.  At Merrill Lynch and at Citigroup, we received on average 6 - 7 per recruiting cycle.  After receiving a renege, we would first go to our waitlist, but by this time most students have moved on.  Often times, we would need to start up a short, concise recruiting effort to fill the gap.  These efforts included businesses like Global Markets and Investment Banking, Operations, Compliance, Marketing, Human Resources, and others. 

I’ve run campus recruiting teams for over 20 years, and we always had one or two businesses that made a decision to recruit later on in the season.  In the past two years, new recruiting efforts emerged for business like Human Resources, Compliance, and Operations.  Often times, star candidates in these businesses make internal moves to producer type businesses like Investment Banking and/or Global Markets.

Recruiters are also gearing up for the summer intern recruiting cycle.  After multiple marketing events throughout September and October summer intern resumes are reviewed throughout November and final lists are sent to career placement offices in mid-December.

Students can improve their chances to get on that list by requesting informational interviews in November and December.  Recruiters rarely turn down informationals, but candidates beware:  an informational interview is still every bit the interview.  Candidates will be evaluated, sometimes in a tougher way, because they haven’t been vetted through the usual on-campus recruiting process. 

Another thing to consider:  students at target schools have greater chances to impress.  They are evaluated by about one dozen company reps and have attended about one dozen events.  Students at non-target schools, which comprise approximately 30% of any given class, often times have a higher bar to clear.  Your fate rests on just one interview so there is no room for error.  Fine tune your skills and prepare like never before and it may just work in your favor!

Whether you are a full-time or summer candidate, stay close to your career services office for last minute openings.  Be bold and ask for informational interviews as you can strike gold with recruiters.  Network like never before and those informational interviews will present themselves!


Holidays Off-Campus: How To Maximize the Downtime

Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine

The upcoming holidays are distracting for students because finals are coming up, and there is a big push academically.  At the same time, employers are distracted because everyone is trying to finish up work for the year-end and people have holidays on the brain.  Budgets may have already been exhausted so there is typically less hiring in the last month.  HOWEVER, while you may be tempted to take it easy on your Off-Campus search, DON”T. 

The holidays can be a great time to make a push, and there are certain things you can do during the holidays that you can’t do other times of year:

Visit your target employers.  If you are conducting a long-distance search (for example, you are in college somewhere else but want to work back home after graduation) use the visit home to line up meetings.  As a recruiter, I often took meetings with candidates who mentioned that they would be in the area for only certain dates.  I did not meet them if there was no interest, of course, but I would meet some that I may not have necessarily called in on their own merits.  The fact that they were traveling and only available for a limited time prompted me to accept the meeting.

Send holiday cards.  This is a way to get front of mind of your target employers without asking for anything.  This is also a way to double-check that your contacts are updated and to ensure that you are recently in touch with everyone that you want to stay connected with.  Don’t forget to include people who have given you leads and other important, but non-hiring-related contacts in your network.  If you haven’t thanked them for that advice they gave, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Consider a winter internship.  If you have a hole in your resume (you need quantitative experience or specific industry experience), see if you can shadow or take on a short project or do something over the winter break to fill that hole.  Don’t forget opportunities on campus with a professor or department that stays open.