Alli Morse ‘12 Project Manager/Business Analyst State Street
What are employers looking for?
During senior year of college family, friends, professors, and fellow students are all asking the golden question: “What are your plans after you graduate?” For some students, it’s a question they love to be asked because they have an answer. Maybe it’s graduate school, a full-time job, or traveling throughout Europe for a summer. But I would argue that for most students, it’s a question they dread. Come December of my senior year, I fell into the latter category.
After ruling out graduate school and the trip to Europe, due to the damages it would cause on my bank account, I began looking into ways of incorporating my math skills into the business world. I knew I wanted a large, global and reputable company that would allow me to develop as a financial professional and grow within the company.
After a lot of research and submission of online applications to multiple companies, my friend recommended looking into State Street. With hopes of networking with State Street colleagues, I attended the annual UVM Boston Career Networking Night. After giving my well-planned spiel to a Senior Vice President from State Street, she gave me her business card and told me to follow up with her offline. The next day, I emailed all alumni with whom I connected, including the SVP from State Street. The next thing I knew I was headed into Boston for “Informational Interviews.” After four hours of draining interviews, including an unsolvable math problem, I left One Lincoln Street thinking I would never get a job there. But I was determined to continue on my search.
The next month I dedicated to my job search, which consisted of networking with people at both State Street and other financial institutions. For the most part, many people never responded but I was persistent which, in the end, was key. Over a month after my visit to State Street in Boston, I received an offer from State Street within SSGM ERM Department. It turned out I had key competencies they value. I graduated Cum Laude in May 2012 and in June I moved to the North End in Boston and started at State Street.
I am currently a Project Manager/Business Analyst for the Risk Management department within SSGM. So, landing a job after graduation is possible! It takes time and effort. While beginning your search, here are some tips from a lead recruiter at State Street to assist your efforts.
Deanna Cameron ‘91
Ronald MacDonald House Charities – http://www.rmh-vermont.org/
Major: Social Work
What motivates you to go to work everyday?
I’ve always been someone who needs to really believe in the cause that I’m working for, so that personal connection to the cause is a huge motivation for me. My niece and nephew were born prematurely and Ronald McDonald House was there for my sister-in-law during the three weeks that the babies were in the hospital. I saw first-hand how the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities strengthens families at a very difficult time.
How would you describe what you do on a typical day?
My typical day consists of the following:
Our number one priority at Ronald McDonald House Charities is the comfort of our guests. So each day starts out with a house “check-in” in which we review our current guests, any new guests checking in, and address any guests needs.
I also manage the nearly 200 active volunteers who cover eight shifts daily in our programs. A large part of my job is ensuring that each of these invaluable volunteers has a meaningful experience serving our organization. I set up month-long volunteer schedules for both the House and in the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
The second half of my job is fundraising. Depending on the time of year, I may be planning our next fundraising event. I update the agency’s day-to-day communications and social media to keep our supporters up to date on what we’re doing. I also do community outreach to share our cause and needs. And from time to time, I even get to snuggle a beautiful baby who is staying with us.
Tell us about your path to this position.
I definitely could not have imagined where my degree in social work would take me when I graduated. Early in my career my work was oriented toward direct service, doing case management with a variety of populations such as emotionally disabled teen girls and homeless/marginally housed individuals. From these experiences, I moved onto doing some program development in the housing field, which sparked my interest in this type of work.
The mix of direct service work with clients and managing the operations of service programs has proven to be the perfect combination of challenges to suit my skill set. I have been able to expand on this even more in my last two positions where I’ve also become involved in fundraising–both working with donors and on events.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?
Volunteerism is a great way to take your career in different directions as well as a means to network with a new circle of colleagues. In the non-profit world where every penny is accounted for, new projects are often started solely with volunteer efforts. As greater value and need is placed on these new projects, staffing can be added to the budget and those that volunteered may then be considered for the new paid position(s). I wouldn’t advise students to volunteer with the goal of acquiring a paid position, but as a way to enhance their talents and explore an interest that may not be fulfilled in other ways.
“8-month-old Micah laughs hysterically while daddy rips up a job rejection letter.”
“What,” you may ask, “is so complicated about Applying for Jobs?” Well, applying for jobs and internships is more than seeing a job posted on Indeed.com, sending off a resume & cover letter and then waiting for a response. If that’s all you’re doing, you could be in for a long wait.
The primary problem is that that method, by itself, doesn’t often yield the results you are looking for. According to many sources, at least 75% of jobs aren’t even advertised. How do you find these hidden jobs? Check out Techniques for Tapping Into the Hidden Job Market on JobHuntersBible, a great resource for your job search. This process is mostly about building relationships with people in your field of interest. Think: volunteering, networking, informational interviewing, and more! (Please see earlier Savvy Senior posts for tips on networking and informational interviewing.)
Another challenging issue, is that when you apply for jobs, you open yourself up to rejection. It’s not unusual to get discouraged when those first few resumes you send out don’t yield any phone calls asking you to come in for an interview. Once you get discouraged, it can be hard to keep putting yourself out there, to keep networking and applying for jobs with enthusiasm.
When disappointment strikes, it’s important to figure out how to maintain your positive energy and continue with your search. Check out this article for some ideas: Top 10 Ways to Deal with Job Rejection. Then, examine how you are going about the job search. Get a fresh perspective, reenergize, and try something new. Also, make sure you aren’t making these 20 Avoidable Job Search Mistakes.
Remember, when you are looking for that first job out of college, it just takes one “Yes.”
Scott Whitted ’74 Deputy Chief, District Court Litigation Division, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States Government, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement http://www.ice.gov/index.htm
Major: Political Science
What type of law do you practice and how did you choose that?
I’ve practiced civil law for my entire career, including private practice, with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and now at one of the agencies in the Department of Homeland Security. I’ve never been a full-time litigator, but before I started my federal job I spent some time in court, especially when I was in the Attorney General’s office. Although criminal law and criminal procedure were interesting classes in law school, I never wanted to practice criminal law. Civil law held more appeal for me.
What surprised you about law school and/or the practice of law?
One big surprise was how poorly many lawyers write. The textbooks for most law school courses are compilations of judges’ decisions that often are not well written. They tend to be too long and full of obscure language. Law students copy the style, which perpetuates bad writing. In addition, practicing law can be a real grind, with much tedium and little glamour. There are rarely quick resolutions to legal problems.
What changes have you seen in the legal job market?
With the current economy, the competition for jobs is heightened. It’s a buyer’s market right now. My office recently advertised for four openings and we received dozens of applications.
What advice would you have for students interested in a career in law? What should they be doing now?
Take college classes that encourage you to think critically and analytically. Those skills will help you to identify problems (“issue spotting”) and develop realistic solutions, which are important aspects of a lawyer’s job. Also, learn to write clearly and concisely. Lawyers do a lot of writing, and unfortunately many lawyers do not write well.
In addition, don’t be afraid to work for a few years before you go to law school. Not only may you be able to save some money toward law school, but you’ll have the benefit of experience in the “real world” before you return to academia. Admittedly, I may be partial to this approach because I worked for five years between UVM and law school.