Student Success Story
Oct. 7, 2014
After one of the career fairs here at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Teri Ficken, president of Boulder-based F&D Engineering Services, was so impressed by CU students that she hired four — some temporarily, some permanently.
“The week after the CU Career Fair, we had three people from that fair working full time, and they’re awesome,” she said. “They’re enthusiastic. If they don’t know something, they will figure it out; and they put a lot of personal involvement into it. If they’re confused or stumped by something one day, they study it overnight on their own time. They come back in the next day and say, ‘I have a solution for that problem.’ And a lot of people will just not put that much effort into it, but these students are amazing. We’re very pleased.”
Notice a theme? CU-Boulder students and alumni are building a reputation for excellence. And with excellence, jobs will surface.
Whether you are just starting your job search or continuing it, my hope is that this article will help you focus on the positive feelings that come with the process — excellence, optimism, excitement, creativity and hope. Hope for what is possible. Hope for your future destinations. And my hope is that you read this article and not ask the question “What is going to go wrong in my job search?” But ask, “What is going to go right in my job search?” and “How am I going to make it go right?”
Education. Let’s start with acknowledging your education. One of the reasons that Ficken was so impressed with our students was because of the CU-Boulder Engineer, Architecture and Geographic Information Science departments.
“We were impressed with what those departments are doing with these students — the education they have. It’s great,” Ficken said. “We thought the quality of students and possible employees was huge.”
CU’s strong educational foundation does not stop with those programs. CU-Boulder is recognized as one of 34 U.S. public institutions that belongs to the Association of American Universities — an association that recognizes public and private research institutions for their quality of academic research, scholarship, and undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields. Membership is by invitation only.
The education provided at CU-Boulder develops well-rounded individuals who are creative, hard-working and well-prepared for the work world.
Character. Ficken not only valued the good, solid education of CU students, but also found the students that she met at the career fair to be of high character.
“What I look for is an outgoing personality, because our employees are the ambassadors for our firm,” she said, “but also someone who is coachable and willing to learn.”
“There’s a certain amount of training that goes into any new employee — whether they’re just out of school or have 10 years of experience. These kids were just so surprising in how enthusiastic they were. They have been working with us for more than a month now, and they’re still enthusiastic. They’re still doing a great job. They’re on time, and most of the time, they’re early to the job sites. It’s great to see.”
Ficken advises recent graduates, who are looking for jobs, to be willing to work hard, put in the extra effort, show enthusiasm and be a real team player for their employer.
“That’s what we look for,” she said.
Opportunity. For employers and students, there are a lot of opportunities for either hiring a top-notch student or landing your dream job. For example, our career fairs have a large turnout of students, ready to contribute their unique skills and knowledge to employers. Employers and recruiters find these events to be a personal way to get to know passionate job seekers.
“The career fair opened it up a little bit more than a Craigslist ad, because it’s face to face,” Ficken said. “You’re talking to them, and they seem very comfortable with it.”
This was the first year F&D Engineering Services participated at the fair.
“We’d known about it for several years and never done it,” Ficken said. “We decided to do it this year, and I was extremely surprised by the number of students, the quality of their education and the knowledge-base. It was incredible. I was not expecting that.”
The career fair experience allowed recruiters of the firm to see students who were sincerely interested in their company and launched the company’s ability to pick the best candidates who presented the best fit to F&D.
Also, students and employers can take advantage of the resources on our website such as Career Buffs. Career Buffs is a free resource to find jobs and internships, sign up for on-campus interviews, learn about upcoming events and search for employers. Employers post jobs daily to Career Buffs, specifically for CU-Boulder students and alumni.
Students can visit Career Services at the Center for Community, N352, to discuss further job search strategies — learning the process of finding jobs in the open and hidden markets. For more information or to set up an appointment, call (303) 492-6541.
*F&D Engineering is located in Boulder. The company has done work locally and statewide as well as in New Mexico and Wyoming. They have done work for counties, cities, the state, universities and private corporations.
By Crystal Ligon