Brad Hammer: Connecting Alumni and Students with Opportunity
Many alumni don’t realize that they may use The University of Findlay’s job placement services for life. According to Bradley C. Hammer (’03), director of career placement at UF, “Alumni have unlimited services,” which include participating in job fairs, mock interviews or personalized “coaching” sessions in which they are given guidance and advice.
Whether it’s as small as needing someone to look over a résumé and cover letter to having a meeting to talk about the approach to finding a job, Hammer and his staff are prepared to help. “We really customize services,” he said.
The office also has a new system, Oiler Connection, he pointed out, that is an online job site that students, as well as alumni, can go on to find internship and job openings posted by a network of business partners who want to hire UF students or graduates. (Findlay.edu, Keyword: Oiler Connection.)
While the resources of the Office of Career Services are available to alumni, Hammer spends the majority of his efforts assisting students find internships, career experiences and full-time job placements. He talks to students about services provided, including help with résumés and interviews, coaching on professionalism, and tips on best practices for conducting an internship or job search.
He and Philip Gunder (’04), director of internships and cooperative education, are working in tandem to provide seamless services to students. “He will work with the students all the way through from freshman year to graduation, and even as alumni, in business, liberal arts and education. Then I have the students who are in sciences, pharmacy and health professions,” Hammer noted. “We really do a good job of collaborating. He’s been a great asset to our office, for sure.”
In addition, Hammer contacts employers to create relationships leading to internship and job opportunities. Nearly 500 companies have registered with UF to seek out students for internships or full-time positions after graduation. As a result, nearly 2,000 internship and job openings from employers across the country were posted through UF for 2011-12. “We have great students who have tons of talent and tons of potential, so being that connecting point between the two is really rewarding,” Hammer noted.
Alumni also may be in a position to help today’s students if their company or organization is hiring or has internship positions to fill. Alumni may set up a booth at a job fair, help out with mock interviews or post on Oiler Connection. “We have a lot of alumni who come back,” Hammer noted, “but there’s room for many more.”
Hammer noted that in past years, typically around 90 percent of students are placed in a full-time job within their field, or are pursuing graduate studies, within the first six months after graduation. “Around 30-35 percent of students continue on to graduate school,” he said.
Career Services will work with the 10 percent who are either working part-time or for whom a job in their career field hasn’t opened up yet. “We work with them to explore other options,” Hammer said. Some job fields are cyclical. For instance, a few years ago teaching positions were scarce and many students worked as substitutes before finding a full-time position. “Right now, we have far more environmental health and safety openings than we can fill,” he commented.
“We’re all working toward the same goal of making sure that our students are really prepared for a job or a career when they graduate,” Hammer remarked. “We encourage students to start thinking about it as soon as they step on campus.”
Hammer began his career at The University of Findlay in 2006. After graduating from UF in 2003 with a degree in business administration and human resources, he worked briefly for Worthington Steel and Fastenal before landing back at his alma mater.
A native of Tiffin, Ohio, he was recruited to UF for the track team. He was runner whose specialty was the 400-meter, and he said he especially enjoyed running on the 4 x 4 relay team. His senior year he received the Mancuso Award as the male athlete-of-the-year. He also was an NCAA Academic All-American from 2000-03.
In addition, Hammer served as a resident assistant for Bare Hall and then a special interest house before becoming resident director for Fox Hall.
The highlight of his undergraduate experience was meeting his wife-to-be, Julie (Renner ’03, M ’04), he said. He came back to campus while she was finishing her master’s degree in occupational therapy and proposed to her in the gazebo on the Cory Street mall. They were married Feb. 26, 2005, and now have a daughter, Mya, 4, and a son, Maddox, 2. Julie is an occupational therapist for Kenton City Schools. The family lives in Lima, Ohio.
Hammer noted that Findlay always has felt like home from the time he first visited as a prospective student. “Love, love, love working on campus,” he enthused.