Careers In... is a series of panels of professionals in various industries designed to inform job-seeking UCSB students about career opportunities across a wide array of industries.
Careers in ... Corporate Training Programs*
Workshop Description: Corporate Training Programs are the entrée into the world of business and carry major advantages for their participants. These programs can last six months to two years and provide graduates a salary and benefits while teaching valuable skill sets in today’s economy. Enterprise – Macy’s.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car : Kevin Hill, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Manager
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a car rental company that offers a challenging and fast-paced nine to eighteen month long training management program to entry-level professionals that are looking to work with a team of motivated leaders to run a successful business. Within the first three months, the program consists of training as preparation for a verbal test as well as a paper-based test on operating business covering topics such as human resources, accounting, management, and boosting performance sales. Enterprise is a performance-based company that continuously hires throughout the year, which allows for a lot of corporate mobility – with spikes usually occurring around December and June after college graduations. Enterprise has been known to hire recent college graduates that demonstrate well-roundedness, leadership skills, and a good work ethic. They accept applicants with a variety of degrees and experience in customer service is highly valued. Over 6,000 branches currently operate across the globe so the job outlook is quite positive. Hill mentions that although the transition from college to work is difficult and demanding, he reassures that the benefits are worth it. Benefits include excellent employer/employee relations, rapid corporate mobility, and community building. Like Hill, those in the Enterprise Management Program can choose to work in the corporate side instead of the rental side of Enterprise. Within three months, Hill was promoted to assistant manager and now manages four different branches.
Macy’s : Tanya Smith, Executive Development Program; Cosmetics, Jewelry, and Handbags Sales Manager
Macy’s is a midrange to upscale department store that sells a variety of products from home furnishings to clothing to jewelry to shoes for men, women, and children. Their Executive Development Program consists of ten weeks of in-store training to learn essential tasks such as reading reports, managing score cards, boosting sales, merchandising, and working with clientele. Within this program, one would present projects to the district, attend webinars, meetings, and shadow current employees. The recruitment is not limited since there are over 800 stores worldwide, and most recruiting occurs in October/November and February/March. Macy’s looks for self-driven, hard-working, and team-oriented applicants with strong leadership experience. Suggestions for experiences students should get involved in during college including working hard academically, building good relationships with professors and other professionals, and actively participating in an extracurricular activity, club, or sport. Smith warns the demandingness of the job should not be underestimated, but reassures that the benefits are worth it. The main benefits Smith mentioned include: amazing exposure to the business, networking opportunities, and the perks of traveling to different places and meeting a variety of cosmetic vendors that provide free giveaways and samples. The job outlook remains very positive for those thinking of pursuing a career in this field, especially for online stores. Macys.com online stores are growing ten times faster than the physical retail stores, thus students should look into avenues outside the stores that are growing quite rapidly. Smith’s track to success included attending her college, UCSB’s, Career Fair, meeting Macy’s recruiters, going through multiple rounds of interviews, and after graduating in June, she landed a job in November after the ten week training program in July.
Careers in ... Social Services & Non-Profits*
Workshop Description: Hear about opportunities to make a difference! This panel will feature representatives from some of the largest Social Service/Non-Profit agencies in town. Come and hear about this major sector for jobs and the variety of positions that fall within the purview of this industry. County of Santa Barbara - Family Service Agency.
This year at our Careers in Non-Profit and Social Service panel we had representatives from the County of Santa Barbara and the Family Service Agency. Each representative provided important information about entering their field as well as what qualities recruiters look for. Their insight is crucial for students who may be interested in entering the field.
Denise Cicourel, the Director of Administration at Family Service Agency, had great advice and opportunities to share. Her non-profit agency’s mission is to strengthen and advocate for families and it does so through many programs including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Services, Family Support Services, and Youth and Family Services. FSA has these programs in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Carpinteria. When discussing the employment opportunities available at FSA, Denise explained that there are definitely entry level positions available and that they tend to pay around $16.50 an hour. In addition to this, she added that while a college degree is not required for the positions, it can be very helpful to have when applying. Since FSA is a non-profit organization it cannot provide translators 24/7, so being bilingual (in Spanish and English) is a great help as well. However, there are some positions at FSA that do not require any Spanish like jobs in grant writing and finance.
Jess Armstrong, a Human Resources Analyst and Recruiter for the Santa Barbara County, stressed that there are countless job opportunities for the County. With 20 different departments, there are all sorts of positions available including, but not limited to, planners, public health caseworkers, animal control officers, health education assistants, social services workers, probation officers, and alcohol, drug and mental health caseworkers, counselors, and practitioner interns. Of all the positions available, over 100 are entry level! The County offers great benefits for its employees including bilingual pay for those who can provide services in Spanish.
After describing the services and jobs available, each repetitive explained the hiring process students may face when applying for the positions. Jess Armstrong went into great detail about the application process for Santa Barbara County. When applying, candidates are asked to fill out an application, submit a resume, and sometimes provide a supplemental questionnaire as well. They may also be asked to take a set of exams which will be scored and effect their continuation in the hiring process. After the tests have been completed and the resume and application have been looked over, the applicants receive a score which will put them on a list in order of their performances. From there the list is sent out to the departments and the applicants will start receiving interview offers. Although this process is quite lengthily, Jess assured that everyone is always notified about where they are in the process. Denise Cicourel explained that the process at FSA is not quite as long or intense. They will post their openings on craigslist and their website and ask for a resume and cover letter. Then they will interview the candidates they feel have the most potential to succeed at FSA, with potential phone screening beforehand, and final they will start extending offers. Denise assured that applicants will always hear back whether the news is good or bad.
In addition to the specifics of the hiring processes at FSA and Santa Barbara County, both Jess and Denise offered great advice for anyone applying for jobs in their field. First and foremost they emphasized the importance of error free resumes, cover letters, and applications. Small grammar or spelling mistakes can instantly take you out of the running for a position. They also explained how important it is to be detailed in any document you submit. The more information you provide, the more the employer will know about your ability to perform. Sending in general resumes is out of the question. Employers want to see your specific interest in the job you are applying for. They also explained one must dress professionally for their interview and encourage candidates to send thank you letters after any interview.
Overall, the Careers in Non-Profit and Social Services panel was a great success. Jess Armstrong and Denise Cicourel had so many insightful things to share about working for Santa Barbara County, FSA, or any other organization in their field. We are so thankful they shared so much of their knowledge with our students to help us succeed in our future application processes.
Careers in ... Beer*
Workshop Description: The craft brew industry is growing and providing many job opportunities for those with a desire for a career in beer and an affinity for connoisseurship. Craft brewers currently provide over 100,000 jobs in the U.S.! Hop on over to Career to hear from professionals in the field and learn how to break into this overflowing industry! Firestone Walker Barrelworks – Santa Barbara Brewing Co - Figueroa Mountain – Sean Lewis, author “We Make Beer” - Zach Rosen, Beer Consultant (Cicerone)
At the Careers in Beer panel, UCSB Career Services welcomed 5 guests. Of them, was Sean Lewis writer of the blog, Santa Barbara Beer, author of “We Make Beer” and writer for the Santa Barbara News Press, Kady Fleckenstein, Brand Manager, from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Zach Rosen a Beer Consultant, Event Planner and Cicerone, Kevin Pratt, Master Cicerone and Master Brewer, from Santa Barbara Brewing Co., and Jim Crooks, Microbiologist and Master Brewer, from Firestone Walker Barrelworks
To start, each panelist began by introducing themselves and their path into the beer industry. Sean, author of “We Make Beer” is a UCSB alumni who graduated with a degree in English. According to Sean, a “degree helps a lot” when entering this field. We then met Jim, from Firestone who earned a degree in Food Science from Cal Poly. Jim has a special interest in food preservation and using food to create different types of food. Jim is currently the Master Blender at Firestone Barrelworks. Next up was Kevin, from Santa Barbara Brewing Co. Kevin obtained a degree from NYU in Electrical Engineering. After taking some time to travel the world and sample beer as he went along, Kevin entered the beer industry by working in a distribution center and is now a Brewmaster and Grand Master Beer Judge V. Next, we were introduced to Zach, a beer consultant, event planner and cicerone. Zach has a degree in Chemical Engineering and has a background in a variety of disciplines, including art and music. Having a variety of interests is very important for Zach, as he is then able to create abstract beer pairings and events for diverse populations. Lastly, we met Kady the brand director for Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. After working in various event planning positions in Los Angeles, Kady went back to school to study wine. After working in the wine industry as Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association and after taking Wine Business classes at Allen Hancock College in Santa Maria, Kady moved over to Figueroa where she has been for the past 4 months. Kady is responsible for internal and external marketing. Each of our panelists followed a very entrepreneurial path, and while they may have differences in their track, one thing they have in common is their love for beer.
The panelists all shared that the beer industry is very rewarding, but that it also has its challenges. Zach shared that one of the challenges is “long hours and little pay.” Sean shared similar sentiments that the pay is often minimal and that years of dedication are needed. Asides from earnings, Jim described beer as his “professional hobby” and feels that the reward is seeing the changes in the industry as the years go on. Sean and Kady both shared that it is a job for someone who enjoys working in a team environment. Kady recently got her first printed label on a bottle and she describes that as a very rewarding experience as she can now see her work distributed. While each individual has to weigh the rewards and the challenges, all of our panelists shared that a passion for the industry will take you a long way.
Now the big question, if you want to enter the beer industry where do you start? Each of our panelists shared with us their own tips and recommendations for beer enthusiasts. Kevin stated that having a background in science and mathematics (up to about trigonometry) is very important. Interested individuals should go to brewing school where they can learn about the chemical properties involved in beer making. Kevin shared that online brewing schools have proven to be very beneficial and practical, as well as campus based schools, such as Siebel Institute of Technology. As a beer writer, Sean shared that anyone can start a blog and can begin the journey of documenting their experience with beer. He suggests that individuals get tours of brewing facilities and that they ask around and talk with people with experience in the field. Zach shared that if someone is interested in the field, they should volunteer at an event, such as a beer festival. Companies always love free help and volunteering provides a great way to network and gain exposure. Internships are also a great way to gain experience. Kady stated that an internship for marketing will be available on GauchoLink within the next few months and Firestone also has internship opportunities available occasionally. Lastly, Kady shared that if you have an idea or a suggestion for the company, share it! Companies love to hear new ways to be efficient and if you have a great idea and can contribute they are willing to listen. Having any form of experience is critical and can help you decide if you really have a future in the brewing industry.
There are many opportunities in the beer industry and many niches are to be filled. Despite the fact that the room was filled with primarily males, Kevin stated that “beer doesn’t care about your color, beer doesn’t care about your gender, beer only cares about flavor.” As the only woman panelist, Kady shared that women are becoming more and more common in the beer industry. Groups, such as Hop Tarts and Pink Boots, have been created for women with a passion for brewing and she projects that in the future there will be “even more women” in the field as the opportunities for employment are broad and continue to widen.
So get out there! Get a tour of a local brewing facility, sit down and talk with someone about their career path, volunteer at Oktoberfest, attend a beer and movie pairing, taste a variety of beers, and start documenting your experiences.
Want to know more about a certain panelist? All of our panelists are on LinkedIn! Make the connection!
Careers in ... Fashion & Business*
Workshop Description: Careers in the fashion industry extend beyond designing clothes. This is a huge industry with a multitude of career paths. This panel of employers will discuss career options such as fashion merchandising, management, sales, and more. Learn from experts about how to gain experience and succeed in the world of fashion. Banana Republic – Sundance Beach – Nordstrom – Urban Outfitters;
Attending the “Careers In” panel for Fashion and Business Industries were Ashley Alan, Human Resource Representative at Nordstrom, Lindsey McCall, Customer Experience VP at Nordstrom, Danise Otis, a Buyer for Sundance Beach, and Banana Republic Store Manager Tammy Yuen. These representatives were all UCSB alumni and they highlighted and discussed their journey through the industry, a day in their life at work, advice to get your foot in the door, and key skills to have.
The Nordstrom philosophy is to hire within. This is certainly evident in the two representative panelists who came to the workshop. Each of the panelists representing Nordstrom started out in sales in order to learn the values of the company and worked their way up from within. Their advice of how to get your foot in the door is to use your resources, get to know people, and learn from other people. Nordstrom is known to teach internally giving new hires the tools to succeed but it is encouraged to create goals for yourself to challenge yourself and enhance your competitive drive. Nordstrom also focuses on growing your strengths in areas of interest and supports employees hoping to advance quickly within the company, and they are open to assisting employees that wish to transfer to other Nordstrom locations.
Being a buyer for a smaller company such as Sundance Beach required Danise Otis to learn more than just her role for the company and to take initiative. Danise began in sales with the company during school and returned later as a buyer. She says it is not really required that you come knowing anything, but it is important to have a strong interest in fashion and a willingness to stay abreast of trends. Danise also emphasized that having experience managing a budget is key; whether it be managing your own finances, experience with a student organization’s funds, or an econ background. All these experiences are helpful when looking into buyer positions. For Danise, working in the fashion industry is all about balance and passion which she expressed through her fashion blog.
On the other hand, being a store manager requires dipping your foot in all aspects of the fashion industry. Tammy Yuen began in seasonal sales and worked her way up to store manager. She says it is always important to be proving yourself and communicating your goals both within the company and the industry as a whole. The most important skill she expressed was providing quality through the customer experience. Tammy also noted that Banana Republic is supportive of professional development within their many locations and employees often consider roles in their other sister-companies for employment growth as well.
There are many facets to the fashion industry so the panelists agreed it is important to keep an open mind and allow opportunities for growth by being open to feedback and trying different things besides sales. Each position whether it be a buyer, store manager, human resource rep, or customer service vice president consisted of its own tasks. Human resources is involved in the hire and firing process as well as any employee issues, budgets, and abiding by laws. The customer experience VP is in charge of supporting the teams, teaching and taking care of the employees. The day in the life of a buyer is very different. It consists of maintaining the visual aspects of the store, filling in the top selling items, and meetings with vendors to discuss lines and new trends. A store manager is the role model for the entire store and supports every facet of business management within the store. They also communicate with district to discuss how the store is running as well as communicating with the other store leaders to discuss customer feedback and what is selling.
Beyond providing everyday tasks, the panelists also provided tips for applying for a sales job. Some of these tips included reading through the job description, researching the company, preparing possible questions and answers, and making a good first impression through body language and proper etiquette. They also advised to do a walk-through at the store you are interviewing with to ensure that your attire the day of the interview represents an image similar to that of which you see in the store. It is important to note there are many opportunities for growth in this industry so it is important to know your strengths, build on them, and keep an open mind.
Download the “2014 Careers in ...” brochure.