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Coca-Cola recruiters predict increasing job opportunities

Representatives from Coca-Cola stressed the booming job market for University students in an information session about its career possibilities last Wednesday night in Newcomb Hall. The company is recruiting fourth-year undergraduates for Sales Associate positions.

Representatives said they decided to recruit from the University because of "the tremendous talent base [of its students]," said Coca-Cola College Recruiter Suki Balet.

Balet stressed the current strength of the job market The availability of jobs is a result of the decline in the population of Generation X as compared to the number of Baby Boomers, she said.

"In the Baby Boomers' era, jobs were hard to come by. Now, when Generation X is looking to enter the workplace, they have a lot of opportunity," she said. Fourth-year students, some of the last members of Generation X, still can enjoy the good job market, and therefore are left with tough decisions about which company they should work for, she added.

Sales Associate James Pilachowski, however, noted that only 7 percent of undergraduate students are recruited from college campuses.

In the March 1, 1999 edition of Fortune magazine, Coca-Cola was listed second only to General Electric as America's Most Admired Companies. Worldwide, Coca-Cola is the most recognized brand name.

Recently, Coke bought Schwepps, the beverage company that produces Dr. Pepper.

Coke's success is partially attributed to the fact that the company "feeds a fundamental need, and that's thirst," Balet said.

She said also is optimistic about Coke's future sales projections.

"Humans need an average of 64 ounces of fluid a day, and right now Coke only supplies two of those 64 ounces per person. We have to do better," she added.

Stressing a strong job market, Coca-Cola representatives said it offers many incentives to encourage students to work for and stay with the company, such as the use of a company car, health insurance and a solid 401K plan. Coca-Cola offers the position to all majors. After 18 to 20 months as a sales associate, employees can move up in the company, based on performance. At that point, they also can get financial aid from Coca-Cola if he or she wants to pursue further education.

The company also offers language courses for those who want to transfer overseas to work.

Balet stressed the mobility in the company and added that it continually strives to keep its employees challenged.

Students have said they already are thinking about what types of jobs they want after they graduate, as well as the outlook for the job market.

"The company that I work for has to offer me ... a position in which I wouldn't work at a desk, enough money to eat, and ... fun," second-year College student Katie Clay said.

Aaron Wemhoff, a fourth-year year Engineering student, said "There's a lot of [job] competition, but there are a lot of openings, too, so it balances out."

"I think there is a lot of opportunity; and companies are looking for a lot of young people with fresh minds and new ideas," fourth-year College student Charlie Armstrong said.

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