Students: How to Differentiate Yourself in a Recruiter’s Eye

By Guest Blogger Michael, Human Resources

Many of you will recognize Michael if you’ve stopped by the Esri booth at a university event or attended an Esri information session on your campus. He is responsible for overseeing our recruitment endeavors with universities across the country; maintaining relationships with GIS, geography, and computer science professors; and managing Esri’s student programs. Here he offers some advice on how students can stand out from the crowd when meeting Esri staff.

It’s that time of year again, where employers are scouring college campuses across the country for top students to bring their fresh perspectives into the workplace. Esri is no different. Our recruiters and technical staff are visiting campuses nationwide in search of the next GIS product engineer, software developer, and GIS analyst (just a few of the positions recent grads take on at Esri).

In my visits to campuses thus far, I’ve talked to a great number of students being proactive in their job searches. More often than not, however, I meet students simply ‘looking for a job’ or dropping their resumé off in hopes we can find a fit for them. If their qualifications are a potential match we try, realizing he/she may fit in multiple divisions within the company. But with the job market as it is these days and there being no shortage of applicants, students need to differentiate themselves now more than ever. Some students don’t seem to realize this, and think that casually stopping by an employer booth at a career fair or attending an employer information session and dropping a resumé off is enough. Students should do their research on the potential employer beforehand … read up on what that company does, see what positions they currently have open, and bring with them specific questions to ask the recruiter. No matter what your range of experience and education—whether you are looking for a full-time position or summer internship—showing a sincere interest in the employer and sense of preparedness is huge in the eyes of that recruiter.

Additionally, students could be utilizing their networks on campus to their advantage more. Each university has a Career Services department devoted solely to working with students on interviewing skills, resumé building, and job placement. Professors are also great resources for students, and oftentimes the best at referring their students to employers. Many of them have years of real-world experience and a wide ranging network of employer contacts, and more specifically former students in the workplace. Students should leverage these relationships with their professors, and keep in mind that the image that professor has of you as a student reflects on the recommendation they provide to that potential employer.

Recruiters meet so many candidates, and see so many resumés. What differentiates you from your classmates? What skills do you have that another candidate may not? What experience have you had that’s transferable to the workplace? Students need to go above and beyond in their job search.  Leverage the relationships they’ve made and highlight sincere interest in a specific job and company. It really is hard work and sometimes a job finding a job, but no employer wants to hire someone just ‘looking for a job’ and no student really wants a job they are not going to be happy going to every day. Do the research as you do in your coursework and in the end you will be happier in your placement and the employer will be happier with you as an employee. Win-Win.

Have a question for Michael about Esri’s university recruiting activities? E-mail us at



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