By Catherine Ruschak
Starting the job or intern search can be scary, especially if you’ve never had the practice. This is especially true for sophomores and juniors who may feel like their résumé doesn’t boast enough experience, or may appear to be too “young” in the eyes of a recruiter. But the truth is, those intimidating people with the power to grant an interview were once in your shoes. They understand the nerves and anxiety that come along with applying. This month one of our Ad Buzz correspondents sat down with recent UofI graduate and recruiter for Walgreen’s, Josh Ayala. Ayala graduated in May with a degree in Business Administration, and was highly involved in both Business Council and the Latino Business Association. As someone who recently went through the job search process, he is able to give a unique perspective on how to get through to the other side.
Q: As a recent grad, you obviously have fresh experience being interviewed for jobs and internships. What was that like for you? How did you prepare yourself for those situations?
Recruiting season was very stressful and kept me extremely busy, as you had to accommodate for interview preparation as well as continue being a full-time student and finishing mid-terms.
Q: What’s it like being on the other side, recruiting potential candidates?
I’m still getting acclimated to being on the other side. However, what I do try to offer is advice and tips to students who might need to improve their networking ability. It’s all about practice and confidence.
Q: What have candidates done to make themselves stand out, make you remember them?
Knowing current events about the company is always a plus, as well as having exceptional leadership experience. So not only get involved but make a difference as well!
Q: What are some tips you can give students in terms of career fair preparation?
I would advise that students not only practice their “elevator speech” but also do some research on the companies they are trying to make an impression on.
Q: How important is presentation when going to recruiting events?
It is always important that students dress in a professional manner or according to the occasion. Also a great tip is to visit the Career Center before an event to freshen up that resume. You can always figure out which résumés were put together a couple hours before an event as opposed to days of thought.
Q: What qualities do recruiters typically look for in candidates during the recruiting process?
At Walgreen’s, we not only look for great students, but students that also are involved and are current leaders on campus.
Q: Please name the ONE thing you advise to those of us beginning to look at internships and jobs.
Be very persistent. It is a challenging market out there and competition is high. Never give up hopes as sometimes it can take more than one visit/appearance to impress a company. I was given an opportunity to interview for my first internship after speaking to the same recruiter at 3 events.