Archive for the Helpful Resources Category

Requesting Strong Letters of Recommendation

Posted on November 20, 2014 with No Comments

Letter of Recommendation

Applying for a job or internship?  In most cases, employers will call your references.  For most other competitive opportunities, chances are you will need strong and descriptive letters of recommendation to help set you apart from other applicants.

Think you might apply to graduate or professional school, or for a national fellowship? Letters of recommendation will be critical to your candidacy.  You might even need letters well before you graduate, i.e. for a summer research grant or enhancement program.  The bottom line: you need to cultivate strong references while you are at UVM, and the sooner, the better.

Professors expect to write letters, but it’s your responsibility to give them something to write.  Ask good questions, and contribute to the conversations in class. Stop by office hours to clarify course material or revisit an interesting topic. Multiple contexts can also help.  Take another class with a professor you enjoyed. If you distinguish yourself, you might be asked to serve as a TA, or assist with their research if that genuinely interests you.

Consider this before asking for a letter:

  • What if any specific guidelines are provided?
  • Who could make a convincing case you are a strong fit based on direct observations of you in class, on the job, in the lab, etc.
  • A letter writer’s title can be impressive, but it is their details that count.  Don’t sacrifice the latter for the former.
  • Avoid personal (aka subjective) references.
  • Still not sure who to ask?  Seek advising.
  • Graduate School . Medical/Dental School . Fellowships . Research

Help Them Help You:

Ask, “Do you think you could write a strong recommendation for me?”  If they can’t, you want to know this outright so you can avoid bland, vague or mediocre letters.  When you get the “yes,” ask if they need other information.  Be sure to provide clear directions for submission, and plenty of lead-time.

Lastly, don’t forget to thank them.  Better yet, let them know how it all turns out.

~ Faith

How to Talk to Strangers

Posted on November 13, 2014 with No Comments

Always Talk to Strangers- The Power of Networking

Did your guardians tell you not to talk to strangers?  Now that you’re in college the buzzword is networking- talk to strangers, make new friends, and connect. Talking to strangers can make your hands sweat, voice crack, and heart race. How do I network and find out about opportunities that can inform and support my future goals without becoming nervous? Being prepared can help. The most underused job search tool is the informational interview—this allows you to seek leads and information regarding an industry or a career path. To do this well, do your homework:

1- Figure out what information you want.
2- Brainstorm people you know—that means everyone from your best friend’s cousin to your hairdresser.
3- Schedule an appointment with someone who seems interesting. It is generally no longer than 30 minutes. Just remember, people are busy.
4- Ask the right questions—here are some sample questions
5- Play the part—dress professionally and know as much as you can about the person you are talking to.
6- Get ready to talk about yourself- draft an elevator speech about yourself and where you hope to go. Bring a resume but only give it if requested.
7- The last question you ask should be, “Do you have any suggestions of other people I could talk?”
8- Be gracious for their time and SEND A THANK YOU NOTE. Stay in touch with your contacts and let them know how they have been helpful in the future.
9- Follow up on any referrals given and do it again and again and again. That job offer could be around the corner.

These tips can help you make strangers into a valuable contact!

~Kim

Choosing a Major–A Major Adventure!

Posted on October 29, 2014 with No Comments

Woman drawing a 3D spiral off a wall

Undecided? Great! Some colleges use the word “exploratory” to identify students who have not yet decided on a major. It’s a great reminder that choosing a major can be a positive process that helps you make the most of your college experience!

Where to begin?

  • Start with some self-exploration. What interests you? What do you like to read… do….watch? What kinds of things intrigued you as a kid?
  • What are your options? You may be more decided than you think! Rule out those of no interest, and watch that list of possibilities shrink to something more manageable.
  • Get more info on majors you are curious about. Check out course listings, read course descriptions. Get brave! Follow up by meeting with a faculty member in the department and ask them to refer you to a student who is enjoying the major.
  • Test the waters by taking a course or two in the major. What piques your interest?

Take the pressure off yourself!

Need help getting started? You don’t have to do this alone!

  • Stop by the Career+Experience Hub for a quick consult to help you get started.
  • Still puzzled? Schedule an appointment at the Career Center for a longer conversation and a more in-depth look at your interests, values and skills.

With 100+ majors at UVM, there are many wonderful options. You can have a major that intrigues you, leads to interesting experiences and helps you prepare for a successful life after graduation. We’re here to help you as your make this choice!

~Mary Beth

Job Fair Insights from the Other Side of the Table

Posted on October 16, 2014 with No Comments

Build Your IT Career at Fast

Here’s the inside scoop from a recruiter who attends A LOT of job fairs!

What can students do to stand out (in a good way) at a Job Fair?

One of the first questions we ask a candidate at a career fair is, “have you heard of Fast Enterprises?” Students should find the companies and opportunities that they are interested in ahead of time and check out their website & social media. Doing research shows that you are interested in and excited about the opportunity to work at a company.

What do recruiters like best about attending a Job Fair?

We love to meet candidates face to face! This is a candidate’s chance to explain their qualifications to us, rather than us simply viewing their resume on a computer. Tell us about you, what you are looking for and what you can bring to our team. Make a great first impression.

What do recruiters like least about attending a Job Fair?

Because FAST is a smaller company, not many students have heard of us and don’t stop by our booth to learn about us. Instead, they stand in line at the large companies that they are familiar with. We recommend considering the smaller or unfamiliar companies. Just because you haven’t heard of the company before does not mean that they do not have great opportunities available! Be flexible at a career fair and open to all job prospects.

Why should first-years and sophomores attend a Job Fair?

Career fairs can seem intimidating, but attending during your freshman and sophomore years is advantageous. It will help you practice your networking skills and it shows employers that you are motivated, and a go-getter. We love sharing the FAST stories with all candidates and we even give tips to younger students about how they can become a better candidate for FAST in the upcoming years.

~Gina Somsen
Recruiter, Fast Enterprises, LLC

Talk with Fast Representatives Sarah Berry and Chris Schmidt (& 125 other employers!) at the Fall Job Fair on October 22, 2014. 2-6pm. Davis Center

World of Work: Hannah Richman ’08, California State Parks

Posted on October 8, 2014 with No Comments

Hannah Richman in her Park Ranger uniformHannah Richman ‘08
State Park Peace Officer (Ranger), California State Parks
Major: Anthropology & Political Science

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

As a Park Ranger, I am charged with protecting the parks from the people and the people from the parks. It’s a balancing act between allowing people to explore and enjoy California State Parks while protecting the area for future generations to experience.

Tell us about your career path to this position.

I was an Anthropology major at UVM and had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. During my senior year of college, I went to a race at Angel Island State Park in California. When I got off the ferry, there was a Park Ranger on the island who struck up a conversation with me based on my hat (a State Parks hat I found at a thrift store). We started talking about his position and what an amazing job it was. He suggested that I go to the website and apply for a position in the spring. From there, it took me approximately 2 ½ years to get my job with the California State Parks and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your favorite part of your work?

Every park has different needs. At my current park I spend the majority of my time patrolling in various off-road vehicles, making sure the people are behaving safely, and rendering first aid where needed. A part of why I like my job so much is that I am not confined to doing just one thing. I always wanted to be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, or someone who doesn’t have to sit in an office all day. As a Park Ranger I am an EMT who gets to practice my skills on a regular basis, I have an extensive understanding of the law and the criminal justice system, and every day I get to speak with the public and teach them about the area they are visiting. As a bonus, I learn more about California’s natural and cultural resources every day.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Dynamic, Challenging, Entertaining

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Anyone who is interested in working for California State Parks should go to www.parks.ca.gov and look under the jobs or volunteer headings. There are many opportunities to work for State Parks either as a volunteer or as a paid employee. Some of the jobs are part-time and seasonal positions and others are full-time employment. The Park Ranger position has many steps. Once the position is announced, the first step would be filling out a standard application found on the State Parks website.

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