Both Burlington and UVM’s campus are buzzing with activity—sure signs the new academic year has arrived. We in Career Services have had a busy summer, launching web site innovations, making plans to improve our alumni network, and building relationships with employers. Best of all, we will soon unveil our new exterior entrance, visually reinforcing Career Services’ interest in welcoming students, employers, faculty, alumni and friends.
Worried about the sluggish employment rate? The best response is to start early, build a history of excellence, intentionally create strong relationships of trust and confidence, and use the resources at UVM! Let he friendly experts in Career Services help you.
Employers, whether you are seeking interns, part-time staff or long term professionals, and regardless of your size or location, Career Services staff will work with you to access the huge pool of talent UVM students offer.
Faculty, whether you are interested in integrating career development information or assignments into your classes, connecting with businesses and organizations, or facing career-related advising challenges, the professionals in Career Services are available to you.
Hollywood has given us plenty of examples of workplace happenings, including glimpses into the job search process. From hilariously absurd job interviews to heartwarming interviews gone right, we have lots of examples of what to do and what not to do.
In Step Brothers (2008), the characters of Brennan and Dale are two unemployed, middle-aged men are forced to get jobs when their parents marry. Unfamiliar with proper interview etiquette, they find themselves in situations like the following:
To be clear, this video demonstrates what not to do when interviewing. Some tips we can learn from these guys:
Know who you’re speaking with: When interviewing, be sure you know your interviewer’s name. “Human Resources Lady” won’t cut it.
Dress to impress…not to overwhelm: Although it’s harder to overdress for an interview than it can be to underdress, this isn’t prom. For more information on appropriate dress, see our website.
Alternatively, we have the real-life success story Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith in 2006’s Pursuit of Happyness. The homeless single-father seeks an opportunity to improve the lives of him and his son:
This is a great clip because it gives a realistic glimpse into the interview process. Everything didn’t go well for Chris, but he made the most of his situation by being proactive. Here’s what we can learn:
Determination: Research companies you want to work for and keep your eye out for new opportunities.
Network: Chris made a connection with an employee of the company, and that relationship paid off- he got the interview and had someone to vouch for him in the process!
While life is not a movie, these clips definitely leave us with ideas to ponder. To learn more about preparing for an interview in the real world, visit our site.
Each summer, the University of Vermont’s Career Services office hosts a NASPA Undergraduate Fellow as an intern in our office. The students in this program are interested in careers in higher education and are given the opportunity to learn more about the field by obtaining internships at campuses across the country. This summer, we were fortunate to work with Christina Smith, of Loyola University Chicago, and you can read excerpts from reflections on her experience below:
I was an ’11 summer intern for the University of Vermont’s Dean of Students office. I found my way to this position as a student at Loyola University Chicago because I became very involved on campus. Through my involvement on campus I found the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP), which is a program for undergraduates that want to go into the field of Student Affairs.
I am interested in Student Affairs because I want to bridge the gap within the African American community between men and women. I want to become a person that works at a university and empowers black men and women to come to college and actually graduate. I came to UVM for the summer for an internship that will give me experience within the Student Affairs field, and it has done exactly that.
Being in Vermont for the summer has broadened my horizons to the different places to live in America and how that affects a campus climate and the people who work on that campus. UVM has become a place where I learned that when I make decisions in life, I need to not only weigh the benefits it has for me personally and professionally, but I also need to think about how that decision will impact me and my happiness. Working at UVM for the summer was the best decision for me, it changed me personally and it offered a safe space for me to explore my professional goals.
You may have heard that looking for a job is a job in itself. Although it is unlikely that anyone is spending 40 hours a week or more on their job search, there is some truth in this statement. Looking for gainful employment can be tiring and hard. However, being proactive in your search can help alleviate some of the stress.
Brand Yourself- figure out what you want to be known for and seek out employers that fit your desired identity
Think Backward- research companies of interest, not jobs; you’ll be more marketable when you can demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the employer
Use Your Friends- networking is key; let others know you’re searching and ask for leads
Market by Fives- informational interviewing is a great way to learn more about your field and grow your network; talk to 5 people and ask each of them to refer 5 more- you’ll have greatly expanded your network in no time and will probably find job prospects along the way
Be Relentless- keep up the stamina; times are tough but a strong will goes far
These are some excellent nuggets to carry with you in the job search as you move forward in your own process. For more helpful tips, visit the University of Vermont’s Career Services website.
Major: Business Administration – Accounting Concentration
Director of Financial Reporting
Dyn – Manchester, NH http://www.dyn.com
How would you describe what you do on a typical day to someone who is unfamiliar with your field?
I am responsible for making sure Dyn’s financial statements are presented to company management timely and free of errors so that they can make the best decisions with the information they have. I am also responsible for managing the internal control environment and overall financial process of the company.
I also may need to work with our banking and financing partners to ensure both Dyn and our vendors are paid for goods or services. I am responsible for compliance with our banking agreements.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?
Before you even start looking for internships or jobs, get to know all of your professors in the relevant areas. They may have “in’s” at many of the organizations you want to work. Second, reach out to alumni working in some of these types of organizations inquiring if there are open positions or internships. Lastly, consider “doing a project” or report on a company you are interested in. Dyn has occasionally hired students who complete a class project while at the company.
After you get a job or internship, understand that you will likely not know everything you need to know. Ask questions, take notes, and work hard to learn your job. Also, do your research into the job before you go on any job interview. Ask intelligent questions during the interview process.
Describe your best day at work:
One of my best days at work was when I was able to solve a problem the organization had for a long time. There was a situation where certain financial information was deemed impossible to obtain due to IT system limitations. By sitting down with the business process owners, I was able to determine that the data was easy to obtain and only required a thought and Excel mastery. The result was access to information that was not available for the better part of 8-10 years.
Throughout your career, challenge the status quo and never accept “it isn’t possible” as an answer until you exhaust all avenues.
Tell us about your path to this position. Did you expect to hold this job when you were a college student?
My initial job out of UVM was with the international accounting firm, Ernst & Young. My career path took me from a staff accountant at a Big 4 public accounting firm, to a smaller regional accounting firm, to an analyst in the information systems department at a hospital, to my current role at Dyn. I didn’t expect I’d be a Financial Reporting Director for a company before my 30th birthday.
What is your favorite part of your work? Most challenging part?
My favorite part is to prove that working in IT or the Finance department doesn’t mean you work in a “cost center” (a department that typically doesn’t generate revenue). Providing value to a user makes you very valuable and prevents the need to spend money on additional software, hardware, or additional human resources. I also love the fact that my current employer empowers all employees to pursue the things they are interested in and excel at. I was given the opportunity to program my own web application to obtain information from a production system since it did not have certain reporting capabilities. I can’t imagine being able to do this at many companies.
The most challenging part is prioritizing work in a fast-moving company where timely information is key, and you must also complete special projects and respond to unexpected issues. Time management skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to respond quickly to changes are vital.