How You Can Prepare for a Tough Economy
One question you may be asking yourself is: How can I prepare for a competitive job market? Below are five tips on how to prepare for a challenging economy.
- Gain experience & self awareness
Many employers express the importance of hands-on experience within the technical or engineering field when looking at candidates for filling a job. We encourage students to review their experiences and become aware of the skills they've gained. Whether it's an internship, a volunteer experience, a senior design project or participation in a student club, you're developing analytical, problem solving and technical skills as well as leadership and teamwork experience qualifications that make you a competitive candidate. Two questions to ask yourself before you start your search are:
- What skills did I enjoy applying through my experiences and academics?
- What type of position or company would allow me to apply those skills toward my career goals?
- Create a stellar resume
Your resume will be your best friend during your job search. It is a marketing tool that helps you sell your skills and qualifications for an interview, not a job. When employers are looking at resumes, they need to see the required skills quickly. If you're questioning your resume's content and format, or if you're unsure of how to begin, check out UVM Career Services or sign up on the door at 103 Votey Hall to meet with me, Danielle Gallant (Danielle.Gallant@uvm.edu; 656-3450), during my Wednesday night office hours.
- Network, network, network!
When creating a network of connections within the professional world, begin with those people you already know such as parents and friends, friends of parents, faculty, supervisors and advisors. Build off of this foundation by attending professional conferences, career fairs, networking events or by joining a professional affiliation such as ASME, ASCE, SWE or IEEE so you can hear about job opportunities and current issues in your field.
UVM has an alumnus networking database called Career Connection. This database is filled with career profiles of alumni who want to be contacted by students and other alumni with questions regarding their career process. Another online networking tool that has become very popular with job searchers and employers is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to create an account and build an online professional network system. Both of these networking tools are a great way to increase your connections quickly, so don't be shy check them out!
- Diversify your job search
Approach your search as if it were a job. Utilize all your resources including your network of connections, online resources and career fairs. Research interested companies and inquire about opportunities. If your search doesn't go as planned, don't be afraid to create a plan B and a plan C in order to adapt to the job market.
- Stay positive
Staying positive is key! There will be speed bumps along the way, but if you enjoy activities that provide a healthy lifestyle and maintain strong connections with those who support you, your attitude will be more positive and this optimism will stay with you throughout your search.