Give Some Advice to the Class of 2021

Maybe it feels like yesterday for you, or maybe it feel like it was a million years ago, but I’m sure you can still vividly remember the feeling of moving into your first-year residence hall.

Were you excited? Terrified? Overwhelmed? So ready for your parents to leave you alone?

However you felt, there’s at least one new UVM-er moving in who feels the exact same way.

In just a week, the newest class of Catamounts are moving onto campus, and we’re collecting advice from alums like you, so we can share your wisdom to make their transition just a little bit easier.

Click through to give your advice and pass your insider UVM knowledge on to the next class! Your advice might even be featured on the Alumni Association social media feeds.

Get Off the Pile: Survey Results!

Remember two weeks ago when you took a survey about personal finance for us?

We’re here to report back on the results, and take a look at what topics within the world of personal finance you all would like to learn more about!

So, Let’s check it out.

tl;dr: You all are interested in hearing more about the important stuff, like retirement funds, investing, and budgeting – Awesome!

The more we looked at these results, the more realized your interests boiled down to two thematic categories: Personal budgeting and Employee benefits.

A lot of you had suggestions on other topics for us to cover, and we’ll weave those in as well. First, we’re going to tackle some of these bigger topics, and then circle back to some of your suggestions.

In the meantime, we’ve reached out to our personal finance experts to get their input, including a professor here at UVM and an alum who is a professional financial advisor

We’re also collecting top-notch and easy-to-use resources from across the internet, so you’ll have access to all the personal finance information you could ever want!

Remember, we’re not experts at this either. So, we’re looking forward to learning about these things as much as you are!

Thanks for following along,

Kathryn ’15 and Ryan ’10

Get Off the Pile: Cover Letters, 2017 Edition

Here at Afterword, we want to provide helpful advice to guide you through the real world of job searches, interviews, personal finance and much more. This series “Get Off the Pile” is where we focus on these topics.

Right now, a lot of you are job searching, or preparing for that process as the summer winds down, so, this week we ask “how can you get off the pile of endless applications with a stellar cover letter”?

Andrew Flewelling, our HR expert at the UVM Foundation has some helpful tips for how to write great cover letters. Andrew has a graduate degree from UVM and is the Senior Director of Human Resources here at the UVM Foundation. Today he’s going to discuss writing expert cover letters.

The Basics

When it comes to cover letters, the most common mistake I see is that the applicant merely restates what their resume says. I CAN read, so there is no need to make a sentence out of a bullet that is listed on the next page.

Instead, a good cover letter is one that does my work for me. It clearly articulates why the position is of interest; and illuminates the skills and abilities that make the applicant special.

It’s great to talk about a few (2-3 max) examples of success. Bonus points if the applicant can quantify the success (% increase, overall sales, maximized efficiency by x measure, etc…).

What Makes a Cover Letter Stand Out?

The letters that really stand out are the ones in which the applicant takes their experiences, skills, and successes, and synthesizes them for me, highlighting their direct and/or transferable nature for the position they seek. The best letters demonstrate that the writer knows enough about the position to be able to overlay their own skills on what we are looking for.

Tips for Writing a Stand-out Cover Letter

1. Keep it to one page. And be aware of the formatting — dense, long paragraphs in eight point type are not good practice.

2. State the important. In the opening paragraph, mention the position applied for and where the listing was posted. In the rest of the letter, discuss what the position requires (skills, characteristics, temperament, values, etc.) and demonstrate/prove that you possess those requirements.

3. Mix it up. Use a good mixture of short declarative statements and longer, multi clause sentences to make sure the letter flows.

4. Be Yourself. Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personal passion. Depending on the position, it may be appropriate to articulate your understanding of the importance of the position to the company, industry, society overall. You should also be able to articulate why the position is important to you.

5. Read it out loud. Hearing yourself will help you catch mistakes, missed references or awkward phrasing. Have a friend do this with you too, it always helps to double check.

6. Proofread to perfection. Incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation are non-negotiable deal breakers.

Get Off the Pile: A Survey for You!

We want to help! For the past year we have been offering up career tips and hacks through our Get Off the Pile series, now we want to expand and include tips from experts at UVM on how you can best manage your personal finances.

Personal finance can be tricky in the 21st century (how many of you feel like you spend all of your money on food and rent?)

We’ve certainly been there.

Sometimes it feels like it’s difficult to get ahead and save money with student loans and everything else we are paying for. How can we still do what we want to do AND be fiscally responsible at the same time?

Take a minute and fill out our quick survey about what personal finance advice you would find most helpful in our upcoming posts.

Have a great weekend!

Kathryn & Ryan

Class of 2017: Check-in Survey

Wow! It’s been two months since you graduated. That might feel like a really long time, or no time at all. It really depends on what you are up to. With that in mind, we have a survey for you to complete so we can check-in and see how you are doing.

As we mentioned in our first post for you, we are here to help you navigate your first year out of college. We are not keeping track of how many jobs you have. Trust us, that would stress us out too.

Everybody has a different plan and we want to find out where you are and what you need so we can support you through this challenging and exciting first year out of UVM.

The more we know, the more helpful we can be.

So we’ve put together a quick five question survey to touch base.

To make it more fun, we’re giving away a free UVM Long Sleeve Shirt to three randomly selected survey respondents!

Fill out the survey and enter to win a UVM shirt!

Cheers!

Kathryn and Ryan