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MU’s own Web-based software puts job-seeking students on the fast track

Tuesday, October 21, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:52 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

For MU graduate David Burkhold, the problem wasn’t finding a job, it was deciding which one to take. A marketing major, Burkhold was courted by a number of companies in his final semesters before negotiating his way to a lucrative sales position with Altria, a New York- based conglomerate.

All he used was a computer and eRecruiting, MU’s own closed electronic job board, where access can mean a fast track to employment.

“I honestly don’t remember ever handing out a single paper resume,” Burkhold said. Yet, he said, “there were periods when it seemed like I was interviewing once a week. I had four offers before graduation.”

A Web-based software system, eRecruiting allows students to enhance their job search efforts via a sophisticated network of employers who target candidates from MU. Access to the system requires a one-time $40 registration fee. Once inside, students can do everything from receive messages from career services, apply for jobs, upload resumes and research visiting companies.

But eRecruiting’s biggest asset, according to junior Aaron Walter, is that most of the positions he finds on the network are with companies with an appetite for MU students.

“There’s an icon that tells you if the company is interviewing on campus or not,” Walter said. “A lot of them do, and you know right then, your chances of getting the internship go up tenfold.”

The idea of online job recruiting is not new. In fact, it was one of the first ideas Internet entrepreneurs had in the early ’90s and has since ballooned into a multi-billion dollar industry. It is becoming more pervasive on college campuses, where students are learning, among other things, to take charge of their lives. As for the companies looking for young employees, online job recruiting has almost eliminated the use of traditional paper resumes.

“It wasn’t too long ago that the tables were turned and we, the companies, had all the power,” said Sara Drage, a recruiter with Altria. “If you look at the way eRecruiting works, students sit back in front of a computer screen and pick and choose which companies they want to go work for.”

The online recruiting business, where the major players jostle for top billing, has traditionally neglected the straight-out-of-college crowd, said Amy Johansen, a recruiter with financial services company, Capital One.

“They don’t ignore them. They’re just not a top priority,” Johansen said, who spent 10 years in human resources consulting. “It is much more cost-effective to devote resources to the millions of non-students looking for jobs. It’s almost not worth it for the big recruiting sites to pay any special attention to recent graduates.”

The company behind eRecruiting is Experience Inc., a Boston-based tech company that has positioned itself atop the “educated talent recruitment industry.” In May, the company partnered with online recruiting pioneer HotJobs. The alliance will provide information on some of HotJobs job postings to the more than 3 million eRecruiting job-seekers. The company also hooked up with budding e-commerce, job-catching company Resume Deli.

In July, Experience Inc. released the latest version of its software system, eRecruiting Pro, which is touted as the first ever unified college recruiting platform. Unlike on Monster.com or Vault.com, where employers cast a wide net to attract potential candidates, the eRecruiting network allows companies to pinpoint specific sets of candidates.

“If I make a job available or look at a resume on one of the major online recruiting Web sites, it is out there for anyone to get,” said Drage. “But if I post a job on the MU (eRecruiting) site, I do so expecting to interview and hire MU students.”


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