Career Moves: Internship with Farmers Insurance grows into full-time position
Spencer Neiman '17 used the support he found at the Student Professional Development Center to help him land an internship that translated into a full-time job.
Spencer Neiman '17 thrives in the corporate atmosphere. Thanks to the support of the Student Professional Development Center, he was able to highlight his skills and leverage his knowledge to land an internship with Farmers Insurance, one of the country’s largest insurers of vehicles, homes, and small businesses.
Among the lessons Neiman learned as he was navigating the internship and job-application process? Don’t get discouraged. Neiman said the staff at the SPDC offered him the motivation to be successful. That perseverance propelled him first to an internship with Farmers Insurance, and as of this February, a full-time position after graduating early.
Nieman is featured in the Career Moves series of profiles on the recent recent experience of students and alumni who work alongside professionals in the Student Professional Development Center to explore career interests, find jobs and internship opportunities, prepare for interviews, improve graduate school application materials and more.
Tell me about your experience in landing a career with Farmers Insurance.
My experience with Farmers Insurance began as a strategic sourcing and procurement intern during the summer of 2016. A successful internship and positive feedback from my supervisor made me uniquely qualified to take on a full-time role. Internships with U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman and U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley preceded my internship at Farmers. While working in congressional district offices, I gained interpersonal communication skills in conflict resolution that set me apart from other candidates. In addition, my policy studies coursework developed critical thinking and analytical skills in solving complex problems. It is the combination of these communication and analytical abilities that made me the ideal internship candidate and now employee as a Procurement Operations Analyst.
How did your interest in the company develop?
My interest in the intern position at Farmers Insurance began after conversations with Nancy Carpenter in the Student Professional Development Center. She taught me to consider my greatest skills from prior work experience and to apply those skills to potential employment opportunities. I found that the Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Internship was a perfect match for my greatest strengths. In my cover letter and interview with Farmers Insurance, I was able to demonstrate that the company needed someone like me with a unique combination of communication and analytical abilities.
What did you learn from the experience?
I am now familiar with several contractual documents including nondisclosure agreements and master-defined project service agreements. I participated in negotiations and communicated with the corporate counsel to minimize risk in vendor agreements with Farmers Insurance. I also participated in the request for proposal process in which vendors would submit proposals in order to meet a specific need of the company. My duties included communicating with internal and external stakeholders, creating scorecards to analyze vendor proposals, and attending vendor presentations. I enjoy working in the corporate atmosphere and recognize that Farmers Insurance continues to develop new and innovate product lines.
Who did you work with in the Student Professional Development Center to prepare, and what help did you receive?
I can think of several people in the Student Professional Development Center that have provided resume, cover letter, internship, and career advice. Pam Brumbaugh was one of my first contacts at the Student Professional Development Center. We discussed my career goals, future aspirations and results from various personality assessments. Pam always amazed me with her critical eye for detail on resumes and cover letters. I spent a significant amount of time with Debby Wall searching for internships and communicating with my academic advisor for course credit. Nancy Carpenter not only assisted me with on-campus employment, but reassured me in every step of my application for Farmers Insurance. I also attribute a great deal of my success to the many mock interviews that Nancy conducted on my behalf.
What recommendations would you share with other students about the Student Professional Development Center?
The staff of the Student Professional Development Center provided the guidance and expertise to navigate all steps of the application process. I recommend that other students use the Student Professional Development Center as a source of motivation and assistance in perfecting resumes, cover letters and interview skills. As Nancy told me, a rejection is simply another chance to practice and do better the next time. I would attribute part of my success to continual practice and motivation that I received With that being said, I recommend the Student Professional Development Center to any novice or confident job seeker.
Which faculty members did you work with to prepare and what help did you receive?
There are many faculty and staff members that I would like to thank who provided counsel during my application process: John Strange, Jason Husser, Richard Landesberg, Ginette Archinal, Geoffrey Claussen, Brittany Slaughter, Alahna Booth and Jeff Stein. I would like to thank Richard Mihans for his constant support, guidance and friendship. Betty Morgan, my academic advisor and professor, was always willing to take extra time out of her day to provide encouragement. The faculty and staff of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi (April Post, Linda Lashendock, Linda Martindale and Donna Van Bodegraven) were another source of encouragement. Also, I would like to thank my friends who have shared in my excitement of accepting a job offer and the sadness of my early graduation.