Whether you are going through the interview process for a first time or fiftieth time, the interview is an intimidating process. As a student and active job seeker, I have found interviews to be the most troublesome. Not knowing what lies on the other side of the door or phone call is the scariest part for me. Also, I am not entirely sure about how to “sell myself” or answer some simple questions. Luckily, the Career Center at UVM helps with these questions, how to dress and even how to behave. I have a few short tips that help me with my job process.
Personally, I always have a problem with “selling myself” because I believe it is not my place to judge my performance. Since I am a Mechanical Engineering major, I have chosen to bring CAD drawings, MATLAB scripts, and various class projects along with extra copies of my resume to show and verify skills from job descriptions. Clearly everyone will not be able to bring these specific items to an employer, but consider similar project work to demonstrate your industry’s skills.
Another valuable technique involves practicing responses to possible questions in order to see what types of responses interviewers are expecting. Big Interview is a resource that allows you to follow video tutorials and read articles to prepare for your interview, as well as allowing you to practice interviewing by recording your responses to general and industry-specific questions. These recordings can be saved for personal and/or professional feedback. A sample recording I prepared can be seen below:
One more option, the Career Center website, provides information on general interview preparation. Additionally, you can schedule mock interviews or review Big Interview recordings in an appointment with a career counselor.
As the semester gets underway, assignments, class schedules and long-term projects get your attention. One course you may not have realized you also have on your plate is Job/Career Prep 101. It is always part of your load, even after graduation. Managing your career and taking advantage of opportunities continues throughout your life. Make sure you understand the basics now and treat your professional development like a class or research project.
Here are your assignments:
Weekly Homework: Add Job/Career Prep time to your weekly schedule, even when you have a job or a very full plate. Taking three small actions a week adds up!
Extra Credit: Take advantage of meeting people, being curious, finding out more ~ be it a conversation in a coffee shop, a follow-up email with a presenter in class, or attending events on and off campus. Get involved in conversations and activities that will support your own learning beyond your assignments. It will pay off.
Vocabulary: Choose language that motivates you! “I gotta get a job” or “I have no clue,” is Eeyore-think. We can all get discouraged, but don’t get stuck there! Practice the language of possibility: “I wonder how that person got started;” “I am going to contact X organization;” “I am exploring career options “ (vs. being lost). Keeping positive is essential to moving forward in the world of work.
Final Project: Reflect on what you learned, what the next step is and take action! The 4 Year Plan can support you each year at UVM.
Daunting? Come drop in at the Career + Experience Hub to meet with a career counselor to help develop your strategy!
Photo: An example of a good internship (where there is communication and feedback), and an example of a less-than-good internship (repetitive tasks that aren’t related to career goals)
At this time of year, many students are applying for summer internships at a variety of different companies and organizations. With so many internship postings out there, how can you find one that provides a quality experience?
Whether paid or unpaid, or if you’re earning academic credit or not, there are several qualities that characterize an effective internship:
Your internship has direct relevance to your career interests and goals. It also provides opportunities for learning skills and knowledge that can transfer to other work environments.
The internship takes place in a supervised environment. The intern has the opportunity to ask questions, as well as receive training and feedback.
There is clear communication, and expectations for both the intern and the internship site are clear.
Optimally, interns are given the opportunity to see the “big picture” of how the organization operates. This might happen through meetings, events, and resources provided by the internship supervisor.
In contrast, what makes for a less-than-good internship experience, and should you avoid?
Repetitive, menial tasks that don’t relate to your career interests and goals. We hear jokes about interns whose sole tasks are to deliver coffee and make copies, but that obviously doesn’t create a valuable experience. As a side-note, we all end up making coffee and copies once in a while – but those shouldn’t be your main responsibilities.
Commission-based work (that is, being paid based on sales). As an intern, you are new to the company and are just learning about the organization and how it works. It isn’t fair to put you in a position of pitching products that you don’t know much about, and it likely won’t connect to your career goals.
Paying for an internship. In specific circumstances, it might make sense to pay for a comprehensive program (interning abroad is one example, when your money goes towards housing and travel), but be wary of any company that asks you to hand over money for the opportunity to intern.
A quick Google search can bring up a lot of information about former interns’ experiences, as well as more information about a specific company. Do your research before applying, especially if an opportunity sounds sketchy or too good to be true.
Still looking for more resources? Come for the Internships 101 workshop, every Tuesday at 4:15 in the Career + Experience Hub, or stop by our Drop In Hours at the hub Hub, Monday – Thursday 1-4, or Friday 1-3pm.
Exciting news! The UVM Career Center is happy to announce the Anna Whitcomb Internship Scholarship, a competitive award that will provide financial assistance to several UVM students so that they may each be able to accept an unpaid internship opportunity.
Internships allow students to gain on-the-job experience and attain valuable skills that can launch them into a chosen career. It’s important for jobseekers to have internship experience under their belts so that they can stand out among the competition. The tricky part about all of this is that internships aren’t always available and accessible to everyone – students may struggle to take unpaid opportunities, or need to take on an additional part-time job to make ends meet. The Anna Whitcomb Internship Scholarship will begin to address these barriers and provide funds for several students to help bridge the financial gap.
The scholarship is open to all students, but preference will be given to those pursuing internships that promote the common good at mission-based or non-profit organizations.
Four scholarships will be awarded, and there will be two different application periods to accommodate the varying timelines in which employers select students for internships.
The deadline for the first application period is February 15
The deadline for the second application period is March 15
You do not need to have a confirmed internship to apply, and can list up to two organizations/companies where you have applied for an internship.
The application requirements and materials will be announced when spring classes begin. In the meantime, take advantage of downtime during the winter break to start looking for that internship! Ask around with friends, family, and faculty for leads, and consider attending a networking event with UVM alumni in New York City or Boston.
Check out these other resources for getting started:
Love it or hate it: Networking is an integral part of any job search, but it doesn’t have to be daunting.
You have likely heard some of the reasons why you should network. The relationships you build connect you to information, organizations, and people- all that may help you direct your next steps. Plus, networking is often the key to unlocking the hidden job market – those jobs and internships that are never publicly posted.
Even amongst all the reasons to network, it can be difficult to get started. Here are two easy steps you can take this winter break:
Hold an informational interview. These are short 20-30 minute interviews that you set up to learn from other professionals about their career path, industry, or company. There is not necessarily a job or internship available rather these interviews provide starting points for building professional relationships.
Try to start with someone you know – a family friend, older sibling of a friend, or reach out to UVM alumnus in your area. Bring questions and an eagerness to learn.
Attend a networking event. These events are set up specifically for building networks amongst professionals. Here you can have numerous conversations in one evening and develop those relationships outside of the event.
This winter break, UVM is hosting networking events in Boston (Jan. 6) and New York (Jan. 8). These events are designed to connect students and UVM alumni in those regions.
Read more about setting up informational interviews and preparing for networking events.