By: Zack Willms
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to intern at Gurtin Municipal Bond Management, a PIMCO company (Gurtin). Just like every other Eller student, I have worked hard throughout my years at the University of Arizona to present myself as a competitive candidate for any internship or job I choose to pursue. However, it wasn’t my grades, extracurricular activities, or leadership roles that necessarily landed me this internship. Sure, my resume helped, but my persistence was what really got my foot through the door.
I initially discovered Gurtin my sophomore year as I was looking for investment management companies in San Diego that I could possibly intern with that summer. I sent the recruiter an email and learned that they don’t offer internships to rising juniors, only rising seniors. It was disappointing but I knew it was out of my control and I would try again next year.
The following year, it was finally my time to shine. I was incredibly excited to apply to Gurtin and see if I could receive an internship offer. I reached out and got an email response from the recruiter stating that Gurtin had just been acquired by PIMCO (a larger financial institution) and, as a result, wasn’t quite sure yet if they were going to be hiring any summer interns. Although the position was up in the air, I made sure to keep emailing the recruiter to express my interest in the company and was able to have some phone conversations with her. In February, I learned that Gurtin would not be hiring any summer interns. It was very upsetting to hear as Gurtin was my top choice of all the firms I had applied to for internships. I quickly focused my efforts on other applications and was able to receive a separate internship offer.
To my surprise, I received an email out of the blue in April from the Gurtin recruiter. She told me that an internship position had just become available at the company and asked if I would like to apply as I had been a stand-out candidate based on my conversations with her in the past. I was absolutely thrilled. My persistence had paid off.
From there, the interview process moved very quickly. I had a couple of phone interviews and then was flown out to their office in San Diego where I had multiple in-person interviews with different managers. After flying back to Tucson from San Diego, I got a phone call from Gurtin notifying me of an offer.
The main point I want to convey with this story is the power of being persistent. Companies want to hire people who don’t take “no” as an answer and show extreme interest in their company. Sending out email after email without any sign of progress can be discouraging, but it is essential for one to succeed. In today’s world, a perfect resume isn’t always enough to get called forward for interviews. Being persistent is a great way to stand out as an applicant.