Archive for the Event Category

What Characterizes a Good Internship?

Posted on January 23, 2014 with No Comments

Two kinds of internships; one with collaboration and learning, another of simply filling coffee orders

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.

~Amanda

Savvy Seniors: Find Hidden Jobs (One Senior’s True Story)

Posted on January 8, 2014 with No Comments

Michelle LeungSpring semester of my senior year – stressed out and exhausted, I was bogged down with papers, exams, projects, presentations, work and extracurricular commitments. On top of that, I hadn’t yet secured a job for after graduation. Everything was still up in the air and the next several months were filled with uncertainty.

In April, UVM Career Center and the Tower Society collaborated to host a panel and networking event featuring female business leaders. They were asked to share their wisdom and stories on their career path and professional growth. The advice they gave was invaluable and I found myself taking notes.

After the panel, I approached one of the presenters, a Senior Vice President with Human Resources at State Street. I thanked her for her time and shared my desire to work in Human Resources. Meeting her led me to several interviews and two weeks after graduation, I got the call and was offered a job at State Street Corporation!

Now, as a contract Recruiting Coordinator, my days consist of scheduling interviews, sending out offer letters, posting internal and external job openings, facilitating background investigation, and conducting new hire paperwork appointments.

Who knew attending the Women in Leadership Panel would land me a job at State Street? I certainly did not.

To all seniors who are currently in their job search process – keep your head up and don’t get discouraged! Attend networking events and career fairs when you get the chance, connect with those who work in companies you are interested in, make the extra effort to get to know and understand their business – who knows? You might be talking to your future employer. It happened to me.

~Michelle Leung, Class of 2013
Recruiting Coordinator at State Street Bank

Want to learn more? Join us with special guest The Intervale Center for the next Savvy Seniors Workshop: Finding Hidden Jobs Tuesday, January 21, 12-1pm at the Hub!

Begin Networking with Two Easy Steps

Posted on December 5, 2013 with No Comments

Network of diverse peoples

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.

~Lisa

Savvy Seniors: Start “Relationship Building” Today!

Posted on November 7, 2013 with No Comments

Alyson Welch at Machu Pichu

Alumnae Alyson Welch shares her networking experience and advice

What role has networking played in your career exploration and job search?

Networking has played a huge role in my professional development.  Four years ago, I moved to Madrid, Spain and had no idea what I was going to do.  After a few months, I found a job and two internships through networking—through a friend of my mother-in-law, a college contact and a previous internship supervisor.

When we moved back to Vermont almost three years ago, I was concerned about finding a job. I started identifying companies of interest and looking for contacts at these companies.  In three months, I met with four people from Tetra Tech ARD, all referred to me through various contacts (a former UVM professor, a college friend of my husband’s and a friend of a friend that I met at a birthday party.)  When a position opened up at Tetra Tech ARD, I eagerly applied and used the knowledge I had acquired through networking to help write my cover letter and prepare for the interview.

Networking can be a bit intimidating.  What has helped you network effectively?

People are much more willing to share information and provide advice than to give you a job. If you are just looking for information, it’s easier to ask people to chat.

I’m kind of shy, so it’s a little intimidating to me to reach out to people that I don’t know. I’ve tried to challenge myself and send emails or call people, thinking that it’s always worth a shot.  I actually don’t like the word “networking” as it sounds sort of insincere.  I prefer to think of it as meeting people and building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Keeping this in mind makes networking – or relationship-building – more organic and, to me, rewarding.  People were very good to me during my job search and I’ve tried to do the same now that I have a job.

What advice might you give to a senior who isn’t sure how to begin their network?

Keep your request to meet short and simple. Be prepared and have a list of questions ready. Ask people to suggest other contacts. Remember to thank the person. Keep track of who you have met and follow up from time to time.  Try to keep your network alive.  Invite the people you have met to connect on LinkedIn

Also, use LinkedIn to identify UVM alums in your field and reach out to them. Check with professors, co-workers and family/friends to see if they might recommend professional contacts. Think about who is already in your network – maybe your aunt knows someone.  Never doubt the importance of any connection—even if someone is not in your field, you never know who they might know.

The most important thing to do is just start networking.  Once you start, you’ll gain momentum and it can even become fun.  Moreover, I am confident that networking is the best way to ultimately find a job – especially one that you’ll like.

Alyson Welch
Project Manager at Tetra Tech ARD

Want to learn more about networking? Join us for:
Seniors Lunch and Learn: Networking Made Easy!
Wed. Nov 13, 12 pm, the Hub

The Single Most Important Thing To Do After the Job Fair

Posted on October 31, 2013 with No Comments

Thank you note

Write a thank you note.

Why? A prompt and sincere note of thanks helps you stand out among the hundreds of other people the employer met at the fair. It demonstrates that you’re sincerely interested and motivated about their company, it demonstrates your writing skills and it can make you more memorable than any other candidate.

Here are 5 tips to making your thank you note successful:

    1. Make it professional.

This isn’t a text message or a Facebook post with your friends, so don’t use slang or abbreviations. Address the email formally with “Dear Ms. Hoppenjans” instead of “Hi Jill!” Sign it with “Sincerely” instead of “TTYL.” Remember that this could be your future employer.

    2. Make it grammatically perfect.

Re-read your note several times to make sure it is as perfect as a resume or cover letter. You want the employer to remember you and what you’ve said, not that you misspelled the company’s name!

    3. Make it personal.

You don’t have to send a note to every person you met. Send notes to employers you are really interested in and/or want to stay connected to. Don’t send a mass email to many employers at once. Write an individualized email and try to incorporate the conversation you had with the employer, particularly if there is something about the conversation that might be memorable for the employer.

    4. Make it meaningful.

At a minimum, you are thanking them for attending the fair and for speaking with you. If the employer gave you some next steps (i.e.: apply online, look at their website, talk with another colleague), give them an update on your progress. If you don’t have more to say, don’t add fluff or filler.

    5. Make it easy for the employer.

Attach a copy of your resume so that the employer can be quickly reminded of who you are.

~Jill

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