For years, Saks Fifth Avenue has been a no-show at the University of Florida’s fall Career Showcase.
But not this year.
The iconic department store was one of the 378 businesses and organizations that showed up at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Sept. 29 and 30 to recruit potential employees.
“We’re really rebuilding our pipeline of candidates,” said Amanda Shuey, campus recruiter for Saks Fifth Avenue. “With the amazing retail programs the University of Florida offers, we figured it was a great university to partner with.”
Saks and the other businesses and organizations comprised the largest number of showcase recruiters since 2008, said Heather White, director of career services at the UF Career Resource Center.
White said among the 90 companies participating in showcase, some were newcomers, like Facebook, or returned after taking a hiatus from recruiting on campus such as Kellogg’s and Saks.
Mike Browne, vice president of customer marketing at Kellogg’s and a UF alumnus, said the event marks the first time the company has recruited at the event in about a dozen years.
Student turnout at the showcase has grown by 10 percent each fall since that time, White said. This year’s total attendance was 8,098, said Dana McPherson, marketing and digital media manager at the UF Career Resource Center.
The showcase’s success gathering a large number of businesses and organizations this year is evidence of the university’s growing stature, Browne said.
“This is a tangible example of where this university is going,” he said. “The university continues to be recognized well beyond the state of Florida.”
Michael LeGardeur, corporate recruiter at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, commented on the hiring opportunities companies currently have, and recognized the millennial generation as prime candidates.
“I think the economy is picking up, companies are realizing the need for diverse talent in their organization,” he said. “An influx of the millennial generation into the workforce brings a unique perspective.”
Derek Brockway, 23, an information systems and operations management graduate student in his final year, was selected for a location planning analyst internship with Ross Stores in New York City after speaking with representatives at last year’s showcase.
“Without this career fair last semester, I would not have had my job in Manhattan over the summer, and I would not be as confident as I am walking through [the showcase] today,” Brockway said. “Career fair did the best thing for me.”