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January 9, 2015

Economics scholarships—deadline this Friday!

Two Scholarships still available for 2014-15—Apply by Friday, January 23!

Economics majors—There’s still time to apply for two scholarships offered by the Economics Department for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Grace Miller Scholarship and the H.T. Koplin Memorial Scholarship still have available funding for the current academic year. The application process is fairly straightforward, and both are offered to economics majors with specific academic and financial criteria.

The Grace Miller Scholarship is offered to encourage and support an academically strong UO undergraduate economics major who is an Oregon resident with a demonstrated interest in teaching. The scholarship is $2,500 for general educational expenses.

The H.T. Koplin Memorial Scholarship is $3,000 and is awarded to an economics major of junior standing with a high level of academic performance and demonstrated financial need.

The application deadline for both scholarships is Friday, January 23, 2015. Students who qualify are welcome to apply for one or both scholarships. Visit the department’s Scholarship Page to learn more and link to the application form.

December 2, 2014

Career Events for Undergrads

Careers in Banking and Wealth Management just one of many opportunities for job seekers.

Winter term is here, and it’s a great time to launch your search for the perfect job or internship!

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the upcoming Careers in Banking and Wealth Management, happening TOMORROW—Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at the Jubitz Atrium in the Lillis Business Complex.

We also have a number of helpful workshops and career fairs planned in the coming months, so keep checking the Undergraduate Events Calendar for events that can help you prepare. And keep watching your inbox for the weekly Economics Job & Internship Digest, packed with dozens of opportunities especially suited for economics students.

October 15, 2014

Job and Internship Digest—Week 5

The updated Job and Internship Digest from the department’s Career and Academic Advising Office is now available! Get your search into high gear in time for spring with the latest listings.

Also, if you want to tune up your job-search skills, be sure and attend the Career Success Series meetings, held every Wednesday in 412 PLC at 5 pm. Check out the Undergrad Events Calendar for more information and a list of upcoming events.


September 11, 2014

Job Search 101, Part 2

by Bill Sherman


Job Search 101 is a two-part series by Director of Career and Advising Services Bill Sherman. The series touches on the advice and information Bill frequently shares with Econ majors as they begin their job searches. 
In Part 1,  Bill discussed how to begin your job search, and both the reactive and proactive approach to finding your first job out of college. In Part 2, he describes other resources, such as employment agencies, and the best way to use them as part of a successful job search.

Part 2: Other Job Search Tools

I shared the two-fold strategy that has been proven the best way to methodically approach the job search with the greatest return on time invested in the process.  If you’ve not read that message, pause briefly and give it a good going over, as it is foundational to your job search success.  Now, let’s talk about employment agencies.

Q. Employment agencies….don’t you mean temp agencies?

Staffing firms are sometimes pejoratively referred to as “temp agencies” because historically they have been used to source hires for short-term jobs, such as entry-level clerical or construction work. However, the staffing industry has evolved quite a bit since the dot-com era at the turn of the millennium. There are agencies that are now tailored exclusively towards white collar (professional) clientele that are seeking employees with very specialized skills.

Q. What do these firms do?

In short, their job is to help you find a job by matching your skills, knowledge, and experience with appropriate opportunities that their corporate, government, and non-profit clients contract with them to hire for.  By the way, most of the jobs you’ll discover with employment agencies are not available to the general public, or if they are the company and contact information is left out until one registers with that particular agency.

Q.  How much does it cost to procure the services of an employment agency?

Normally, these employment agencies will not charge you for their services, unless they offer you something above-and-beyond basic job matching (e.g. resume development, software training, etc.).  Their business model involved receiving a fee from the employer for each successful placement they make. Public agencies, like the Oregon Employment Department, Washington Employment Security, etc. do not charge job seekers OR employers, since they are receiving state and federal funds to do the work as a public service. My first professional job was as a Business & Employment Specialist with the Oregon Employment Department and I helped everyone from teenagers looking for summer jobs, to laid-off loggers needing retraining, to corporate executives looking to find a comparable professional role.

Q. What makes Employment Agencies so special?

Normally, staffing services like Aerotek, Ajilon, Kelly Services, and Accountemps have exclusive relationships with companies for individual recruiting projects.  It doesn’t mean that one employment agency or another is the only door into that company, but it usually means that they are the only means of getting a specific position with that company.

Q.  Is it better to apply for jobs posted on a company website or to work solely through employment agencies?

It’s not an “either/or” situation—it’s a “both/and.”  In other words, you should be applying in a timely manner for recently posted jobs on company websites, public forums, and UO Student Connect (aka UO JobLink), yet you should also be working through employment agencies to apply for positions they may have the edge in staffing.

Nike, for example, has utilized the services of Adecco in Portland (almost exclusively) for years to hire for hundreds  of entry-level corporate jobs of various kinds.  Usually these are temporary, one-year contracts, BUT they’re used to “try out” candidates for potential long-term, full-time jobs within the organization.  These temporary employees also get to apply for internal job postings before they are made available to the general job-seeking public.

Q.  Ok, I’m interested.  So who do you recommend I work with?

One employment agency that I’ve worked with quite a bit over my 10 years at the University of Oregon is CAMPUS POINT, based in Seattle & Portland.  Other agencies that have recruited UO students/graduates before include Boly/Welch and Ajilon.   I’m including the links to these and other  employment agencies (including state/county gov’t agencies that help the unemployed with a wide-variety of services) below for different labor markets.

*Please note that I have not had personal experience with all of these agencies (esp. outside of the Oregon), but from the feedback I’ve received and read, they have mainly good reviews.   Also, this is not an exhaustive list, but nonetheless you should find it a helpful one.



San Francisco

San Diego

Los Angeles

Q. How can I make the most out of my relationship with an employment agency?

Finally, a caveat: while services like Campus Point can bring new job leads to your attention, you will still need to compete at your best.  This means, prompt action on your part when new leads come your way, stellar application materials, and superior interviewing skills.

August 26, 2014

Job Search 101, Part 1

by Bill Sherman


Job Search 101 is a two-part series by Director of Career and Advising Services Bill Sherman. The series touches on the advice and information Bill frequently shares with Econ majors as they begin their job searches. 
In this first installment, Bill discusses how to begin your job search, and both the reactive and proactive approach to finding your first job out of college. 

Part 1: Initiating Your Job Search

Getting Your Head in the Game

Finding a job, as you’ve come to realize by now, is not only hard, but it’s often very time-consuming, stressful, frustrating, and discouraging. It’s easy to throw up your hands and lose heart.  Don’t.  Take a walk around the block, have a bit to eat, find a comfortable spot to spread out with your tablet/laptop and determine to put in as much as four hours each day into the job search process. Treat it the same way you’d treat your future job and give it your full attention.


The reality is you will apply for many jobs and never hear back. It’s part of the game. The positive side is that by continually applying (and reapplying) with companies, (1) you’re getting your name out there; (2) your application material will soon become more refined; and (3) you’ll find that just the discipline of doing this will make you a sharper, more focused candidate who can better communicate your value with employers.

Career Planning Toolkit

An excellent booklet series is available that I helped shape and editing during my time at Lundquist Career Services, just a few years prior to moving into my present role in Economics Career & Advising Services. They cover everything from networking and job search techniques to resume/cover letter best practices and interview preparation. I strongly recommend you invest 30-60 minutes to read them all, and refer back to them when you need to.

Initiating The Job Search

In my experience, the graduates who get the best jobs in the shortest amount time are those who are both reactive and proactive in doing whatever it takes to get hired.

Reactive Strategy

Q. What does it mean to be “reactive” in my job search?

Being reactive implies that you are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to apply for a job when a new opportunity arises—whether it’s a classified ad in the newspaper, an online advertisement, a lead from your career advisor, or a casual mention from a family member or friend  who tells you, “XYZ Corp. is hiring.  You should check it out.”

Q.  How many jobs should I apply for a day?

When you discover a job prospect, the worst thing you can do is wait.  You need to react and do so within a 24-hour period.  It’s not unrealistic to expect that you’ll need to apply to as many as 3-5 jobs a DAY.  The key is to strike while the iron’s hot.

Q. So I just send the company my resume, right?

Not exactly. You should definitely have your resume ready to go, but truly competitive candidates know that they need to tailor their resume so that it speaks explicitly to the demands of the particular job they’re pursuing.  For example, you may need to revise your Objective, incorporate key words from the job description, add new bullets or remove others.  (BTW, If you haven’t had me review your resume, we need to talk.)

Q. Should I include a cover letter with every job I apply for?

When you apply, if you have a chance to write a short message to the employer, either in a cover letter or email, take it.  It’s important to make the job search personal, whenever you can.

Q. Ok, I’m ready to implement my “reactive strategy—what now?

A good reactive strategy requires you to be tuned in to the platforms where employers post positions, namely:

  • UO Student Connect. Formerly UO JobLink.
  • A meta-search engine that captures all publicly posted jobs and internships, though it doesn’t “discover” search results for password protected sites, like UO Student Connect.
  • Simply Another meta-search engine, but this one has a gadget that links job postings to contacts in your LinkedIn network. So if one of your contacts works [or once worked] for the company, you could reach out to them for advice before and/or after applying for the job.
  • Professional Organizations.  Chamber of Commerce, Society for Human Resources Management, UO Economics Club, and other groups periodically share opportunities on their websites, emails, LinkedIn groups, and meetings.
  • Career Fairs . We have them quarterly, but there are periodically job fairs sponsored by other organizations in cities like Eugene, Portland, and so on.

The Proactive Strategy

This means that you don’t wait for employers to come to you; rather, you target employers and pursue them.

Q. What’s the first thing I need to do if I want to adopt a proactive strategy?

Activate your network—this means letting your parents, siblings, extended family, and friends know that you are looking for a job or internship and giving them some basic details about the kind of opportunity you’re pursuing (e.g. something involving data analysis, finance, marketing, etc. in the Eugene or Portland or Seattle area).  You can get the word out using Facebook and personal conversations.  You’ll be surprised at the lengths people who really care about you will go to in order to introduce you to the people and opportunities.

It is important to follow up promptly and fully with any leads that your network gives you.  If someone says, “There’s this guy named Jim at YES Corp. Drop him a resume,” then be sure to make that happen within a 24-hour window.

Q. How do I go about finding prospective employers in my area?

Set aside time to research organizations in the desired geographic region (e.g. where you will be realistically available to work) and begin making a “prospect list.” This list can be an Excel document. You can usually find a fairly business directory on any local Chamber of Commerce website, and this is an excellent starting point.  Also, look for those “Best Companies To Work For” lists. The goal is to expand your level of awareness about companies in your area (thinking beyond just name brands).

Q.  Ok, I’ve got my prospect list.  Now what?

Once you’ve made your list, start looking at each company individually.  You’re looking for several things:

  • Current job/internship announcements. You may not find anything, but I want you to get an idea of what the organization does and what they value in their hires.
  • Mission, vision, values. Are they compatible with your own values and goals?
  • Industry niche and business functions. As you research what the company does and how it operates, imagine what you could do to contribute to their success.

Now, narrow your “Prospect List” down to a “Target List” and begin tracking your activity related to each organization (both proactive and reactive), as well as points of contact you’ve discovered through your research (e.g. company directory, business articles, and LinkedIn).

Q.  If the companies on my target list don’t have available jobs, what should I do?

Begin your outreach.  Remember, this is the proactive strategy—you’re not waiting for employers to come to you, you’re going to them.  Your outreach can take several forms:

  • Informational Interviewing.  This involved contacting someone in one of the companies you are interested in and asking them for 5-10 minutes of time (e.g. a coffee break) to ask them questions about their company, their career path, how they got their start, and advice for students seeking to “break into” finance, analysis, research, actuarial work, etc.
  • Networking.  Groups like the Chamber of Commerce, local business periodicals, and non-profits often host breakfast meetings, lunches, fundraising events, after-business socials.  You need to register for those events, show up, shake hands, get business cards, and follow-up with “Nice to meet you emails.”
  • Project Proposal.  This can be a very effective way of creating an internship where none previously existed.  The proposal is a short email and/or cover letter that briefly (1-2 paragraphs) tells a hiring manager (a) who you are, (b) what you want, and (c) what you have to offer, then (d) asks for follow-up of some kind (e.g. 5 minutes to meet over the phone or in person to discuss the possibilities).

Q.  How do I find a contact?

The best way is through LinkedIn, which is a tremendous research tool.  Once you have a profile, you can search companies and see which employees work there and what their particular roles are.  From there, you can either initiate an invitation to connect or (better yet) request an introduction through one of your other contacts who may be connected to them.  Often time, with a little online sleuthing, you can find the contact’s official company email address.   Follow the pointers above for structuring your message.

Q.  What help is available to me over the summer at the UO?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the information I’ve just shared.  Remember, there are no shortcuts.  If you contact me, I’m going to ask you to detail your reactive and proactive strategies.  I’m going to want to see your prospect/target lists. I’m going to want details of what jobs you’ve applied for. I’m going to want to see your resume.  It’s your responsibility to get these things together. I can help you to take all of this to another level and troubleshoot issues you’re running into. In addition, the UO Career Center is open over the summer to help.

July 16, 2014

Keeping in Touch

Recent Grads: We miss you already! 

Let us know what you’re up to. New job? Internship? Community service? Traveling? We’d love to hear all about it.

Plus, if you’d like to continue receiving job leads and information from Career and Advising Services, we’d like to know that, too! Complete the Exit and Employment Survey, and be sure to give us a non-uoregon email so we can keep in touch.

We have plenty of resources over the summer to help you score that next gig, so feel free to contact Bill Sherman if you need some extra input during your job search. Have a great summer!


July 14, 2014

Article Reprint: To My Fellow Job-Hunting College Seniors

By David L. Pierce

originally published March 17, 2014 in the Wall Street Journal
(subscription required to view full text)

Used by written permission of the author

DavidPierce_blog-300x291“I have no idea what I’m doing.” This is the thought that runs through the minds of college students most of the time. As we begin to look for jobs during our senior year, between bouts of temporary alcohol-induced amnesia, we start to suspect that our cluelessness is a real problem. When we find out that the guy who has worn the same Greek function T-shirt and sunglasses backward around his neck for four years has accepted a job offer, panic sets in.

At the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business, I have diligently learned the CAPM model and inner workings of financial statements. I can DCF all D-A-Y. But when it came to my job search I discovered a disconnect between my education and the real world.

So to my fellow generation of entitled adult-adolescents who expect a $75,000 salary if they’re going to get up before 10 a.m., here’s my advice from the other side of the job search. You won’t hear any of this from your college career center.

  • Never wear a black suit to an interview. Black suits are for weddings and funerals. Go to a classy men’s boutique and have them fix you up with a nice $500 suit, gray or navy blue. It’ll last you five years. The key is to make sure it fits so you’ll feel snappy in the job interview despite your stutters and flop sweat. If you can swing it, buy the gray and the blue suit. Wear the blue for the first-round interview, and the gray to the more formal second- or third-round interviews. (Women: Sorry, I’m not qualified to advise on pencil-skirts and heels.)
  • If you get nervous in social situations, make an effort to go out to a bar—not with your buddies—a few months before interview season, have a couple of drinks, and strike up a conversation with an unfamiliar girl (or guy). Bars are low-pressure, and even if you do get shut down, you’ll realize that the rejection isn’t that bad. More important, you’ll gain new confidence that will help in higher-pressure environments such as interviews and networking sessions.
  • In networking sessions, don’t talk about the fascinating people you’ve met or the exotic places you’ve been if that information hasn’t been strongly solicited by the other person. Better to talk about your friend who deep-fried an entire bag of Doritos than the semester you spent at Oxford. You’ll get laughs and seem down-to-earth.
  • Don’t use your university email on your resume. Schools often discontinue email addresses, and if an employer wants to get in touch after graduation you’ll be out of luck. Get a Gmail account with some easy-to-understand form of your name. Note: It’s safe to assume that job interviewers think people with Yahoo or AOL email accounts are suspect.
  • When you get a business card, write on the back where and when you met the person and any useful notes about him or her. Keep track of these cards. Personally, I use a spreadsheet for all the info. Email your contacts—even a few lines—every three or four months and make sure you have something to say.
  • Trying to network with someone in a company but don’t know their email? If you have someone else’s email from the company, follow the format. If an analyst’s email is, and you want to get in touch with Jane Smith, send the email to I have used this trick a few times and it works.
  • LinkedIn. Get one.
  • Social Media. As you’ve noticed, parents now use Facebook more than we do, and the people who are thinking about hiring you will probably be parents. Before you start your job or internship search, reset your privacy settings so that strangers can see only your profile picture. Choose a presentable photo—no random arm around you or red Solo cups. Make your Twitter and Instagram private. Oh, and delete your Myspace if it still exists. Any potential employer will Google you, so if there’s anything floating around on the Web that you don’t want them to see, take it down.
  • Set up your voice mail like someone who has a real job or deserves one. Don’t make people sit through even five seconds of your favorite song or your jokey explanation of why they need to leave a message. If they’re calling to set up a job interview, they just want to be sure it’s you.
  • Write thank-you notes for job interviews. Emails don’t cut it, so play it safe and do both. Write and mail the note the minute you get home.
  • Once you accept a job offer, don’t talk about your salary—you’ll either sound like you’re bragging or you’ll discover that you should have held out for more. An exception: Friends may ask in earnest, especially juniors, so they can better grasp the job market. But tell them at your own risk.
  • If you’ve accepted an offer, do everything in your power to help classmates find a job. Getting an offer means you’re doing something right and probably have at least one valuable piece of advice to pass along. Share if others ask. You would want someone to do the same for you.

Don’t worry, if you get one or more of these things wrong, it isn’t going to totally kill your chances of landing an internship or job. And it was probably time to clean up your Facebook anyway.

David Pierce is a senior finance student at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business. After graduation, he’ll be working as an investment-banking analyst.

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