Students flock to CIA, technology booth at job fair on Library Walk

The Central Intelligence Agency joined corporate, military and government representatives Jan. 23 for the Winter Job Fair, which took place on Library Walk.

Lyon Liew

The CIA, created in 1947, is the country’s leading intelligence gathering organization. Recruiters were looking for college students who are interested in careers such as the clandestine services, science and engineering technologies, analytical positions, language translation and other professional positions within the organization.

Recruiting at universities is a common practice for the CIA. Its national recruiting organization visits 70 to 80 campuses regionally on a regular basis. Its main goal is to attract interest toward entry-level positions.

“”Sixty percent of those hired are entry-level,”” said West Coast Recruiting Officer Michael Mau. “”This means that they have been out of college for two years or less.””

Lyon Liew

The CIA offers three programs for students considering a career in the intelligence field. These programs include an undergraduate student trainee (co-op) program, an internship program and a graduate studies program.

“”Younger people want to start their careers after college,”” said Secretarial/Administrative Assistant Recruiter Janice Broder. “”The CIA is a good place for that.””

Recently, the amount of applicants and resumes has increased dramatically. This growth in national interest can be linked to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to Broder.

“”A lot of people have applied due to the attacks,”” Broder said. “”We’ve received cover letters from applicants saying that they feel like they need to do something or make a difference, whether it’s secretariat or clandestine.””

Some UCSD students share this patriotic sentiment and have considered the CIA as a part of their future.

“”A job at the CIA has definitely been a possibility,”” said senior Matt Diebolt, who is interested in becoming a biochemist for the chemical warfare department of the counterterrorist unit. “”The events of Sept. 11 have certainly driven me to pursue a career in the CIA.””

Other students see the terrorist attacks and the influx of attention that the CIA has been receiving recently as an opportunity.

“”[The CIA] has been something I’ve considered since high school,”” said senior Stefanie Ness. “”Due to the events of Sept. 11, the number of positions open to new applicants has increased, and I feel like now is the best time to apply.””

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks seem to have changed the mindsets of many Americans about agencies such as the CIA and FBI, and departments such as the police, fire and emergency medical technicians. Careers in these fields may seem more plausible as the popularity of government agencies has increased.

“”You don’t get as many strange looks from family members when you tell them that you’re going into bioterrorism,”” Ness said. “”You probably would before Sept. 11.””

However, despite the terrorist attacks, a majority of students interested in careers in the CIA have not been dramatically influenced by the events.

“”It has nothing to do with 9-11,”” Adel Hajrasu said. “”Because of my background and the traveling I’ve done, the CIA is something I would be able to do. It seems like a challenging career.””

Representatives from over 60 companies were also on hand to recruit UCSD students to their ranks of the work force.

According to UCSD Career Center Employer Relations Coordinator Adele Wilson, the weak economy has resulted in the lowest turnout among companies seeking employees at a UCSD job fair in recent years.

Many students, such as Revelle senior Matt Delmage, who waited in a long line to meet with a Qualcomm recruiter, remained optimistic about landing a job in today’s slower job market.

“”I’m concerned but not worried,”” Delmage said. “”I’ll get a job, but it’s not the same as three years ago.””

Rarely do students get hired at the job fair. Mostly, it is a chance to make a first impression with a company, Wilson said.

Dale Tattersall, of Southland Industries, an engineering and construction company, agreed.

“”We’re here taking resumes, introducing our company to students and getting to know students.”” Tattersall said. “”Then we will review the resumes and contact potential candidates.””

Making first impressions is why Chris Byrne of the Men’s Wherehouse attended the job fair. Aside from looking for potential salespeople, Byrne dispensed advice on how dressing for success is more than a cliche.

“”First impressions are important,”” he said. “”They show that you are a serious candidate. Dressing right is a part of that.””

Josh Barnes, a Revelle senior, was out scouting technology companies.

“”I’m trying to find out what they are hiring for and get a picture of how to prepare myself for when I graduate,”” Barnes said.

Although the economy is starting to pick up, recruiters still stayed away.

“”Biotech companies are real popular and that industry is going great guns right now,”” Wilson said. “”It’s really hot right now.””

Wilson said that hiring usually lags a few months behind an economic rebound. She anticipates a better turnout of recruiters for the Spring Job Fair and a full rebound by next fall’s fair, at the latest.

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