“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.
Brian Trudell ’09
Agronomy Outreach Professional
University of Vermont Extension – http://www.uvm.edu/extension/
St. Albans, VT
Major: Animal Science
How would you describe what you do on a typical day?
My role as a UVM Extension agent is to reduce nutrient and sediment loading in Lake Champlain. I provide education and technical support to Vermont livestock farmers in the Lake Champlain Basin on nutrient management and tillage practices.
My primary areas are Franklin and Grand Isle counties, where the majority of farms are dairy producers. I help farmers manage soil health with soil testing and detailed nutrient management software programs. By reducing non-point nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural fields, surface water quality is improved. This makes the Lake Champlain a better place for wildlife and the many people who enjoy it during our beautiful Vermont summers.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?
Create a well-rounded body of work for yourself by leaving your comfort zone. Do internships in far-away places to experience ideas that you may not hear from you college professors. While high-end internships with established organizations may be desirable, you may learn more with a start-up operation.
How did your time at UVM, both in and out of the classroom, prepare you for your position?
While at UVM I learned how people without an agricultural background perceive our industry, especially those that are appealed by organic and/or vegetarian diets. Critical thinking is very important when discussing agriculture and food systems issues.
What motivates you to go to work every day for this organization?
I am building knowledge in a new area because crop and soil work was not a focus of my undergraduate studies. I plan to operate my own dairy business in the future. By working with dairy farms, I build my connections and reputation every day. I aspire to be a leader within the Vermont agriculture industry and see this job as an opportunity to build a solid foundation for my future.