Savvy Seniors: Pursue Expertise

“Overwhelmed.” That was the most common comment from Seniors at our Careers and Coffee event last week.  So if that feeling describes you, you’re not alone!

The Senior Checklist for Career Success is meant to help with that feeling, to break down the steps necessary to move out into the world of work. It’s a checklist with the resources and tools to get the job done.

Let’s take a closer look at the second item, Pursue Expertise. You’ll find lots of ideas on the Checklist to get engaged and build skills.  Looking at the Work Life Cycle you will see that this isn’t a linear process. You can start anywhere and move to the other items when you are ready.  The core idea of “Pursue Expertise” is “Do something!”  Unfortunately, the most common result of feeling overwhelmed is procrastination or doing nothing at all.

Kaizen is the Japanese philosophy of small steps to meet a great goal.  “So, next time you’re procrastinating, just take a single step; that may be all you’ll need to get yourself going,” writes Lynda Edwards on her site on beating procrastination.

Ask yourself, “What’s one small thing that I can do this week to move towards my post-graduation goals?” Look at the Checklist and pick one resource that you can use to move towards that goal.  Make a commitment to yourself to take that one small step.

If you feel like you still don’t know what your post graduation goals are, review item one, “Assess and Prioritize” and consider making an appointment with a counselor.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. –Mark Twain.


Stepping Stones

Seniors: Planning for After College Starts Today

This week’s blog entry comes to us from guest blogger, Kyle Espinola. In addition to being a student at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Kyle works for, a website that allows consumers to compare their purchasing options in various industries in order to make informed decisions.  In this post, he has some advice for choosing potential jobs in cooperation with location.

Kyle Espinola

When I’m not hitting the books or working at FindTheBest, I’m most likely writing a post for the UCSB Career Services blog. I recently wrote a post for our senior class addressing the importance of aligning your career choice with your city selection after graduation. Here are some of the highlights:

Analyze the Job Market: Step one is checking an industry’s job creation to loss ratio. Job markets fluctuate as the needs of society change and industries become saturated. Do your research and make sure to pursue jobs with positive job growth. Here is a future jobs and career forecast tool.

Make Your Major Work for You: Did you know on average surgeons make $30,000 a year more than orthodontists, but are in school for minimum of 4 more years? That is over $750,000 lost to more schooling (and that’s not including the tuition)! This phenomenon isn’t specific to the medical field, so make sure to research multiple career options in your discipline.

City Selection is Crucial: Your salary in a particular job could be more or less depending on the city. Most often the increase is due to cost of living, but not always. You could potentially capture additional income without losing it to taxes, inflated rent, etc. In order to determine the equilibrium, you’ll need to maximize your salary while mitigating your living expenses. Here is a salary by city and job comparison and a cost of living index to help with the calculations.

By accounting for these variables you can set yourself up for a comfortable life. In the end, the true secret to wealth is doing what you love.

Kyle Espinola
Business Development, FindTheBest
Phone: 559-759-4066

FindTheBest is a powerful tool for making quick and informed decisions.
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Intro Video– Why we do what we do!

World of Work: Brenda J. Luciano, Esq. ’97, Associate at Paul Frank + Collins, P.C.

Brenda Luciano

Brenda J. Luciano, Esq. ’97
Paul Frank + Collins, P.C. –
Burlington, VT

Major: Business Administration

What type of law do you practice and how did you choose that?

My practice surrounds areas of business law, including business transactions, commercial real estate, and business litigation as well as some environmental litigation. I have a B.S. in Business Administration from UVM so my interests stemmed from my college studies and also from working as a business and e-commerce consultant prior to law school.

What surprised you about law school and/or the practice of law?
Just how diverse the practice of law really is. There are so many areas of practice and so much to always learn.

What changes have you seen in the legal job market? And what should students know about this?

In general the job market and economy are still a bit unstable right now. My advice to students is to be flexible and resourceful in terms of your goals. While in school, students should do things that distinguish themselves from others in the job market, whether it is volunteer work, internships, publishing articles or joining academic or other groups. Show employers that you have done things outside of the classroom especially in a leadership or cooperative role, which may set you apart from the other applicants.

What advice do you have for students considering a career in law?
First, study hard for the LSAT. Take an LSAT course and really try to do as well as you can on it. Also talk to a variety of lawyers already in practice about what they do. You may want to work or intern in a law office to get a feel for the day-to-day work. In addition, visit some law schools and talk to the admissions staff to find out more about what law school will be like. Try to sit in on a class. Talk to current law students or recent graduates about the demands of law school. You may also want to take a legal writing class prior to entering law school since writing is a huge part of your law school education.

How Do You Prefer Your Shrimp? Choosing a College Major

In the movie Forrest Gump (1994), Forrest befriends Bubba, a soldier with a passion for shrimp.  In a scene from the movie, Bubba explains the many ways shrimp can be prepared:

Just like the many options that exist for preparing shrimp, there is a wide array of possibilities for college majors.  You will invest much of your time and energy into the major of your choice, so it should be something that excites you.  Additionally, you probably want to know that the major you choose will lead to gainful employment that keeps you satisfied beyond your years in the classroom.

You should feel empowered to study what you love, in spite of the myths that exist that may make it scary to do this:

Myth: You’ll never get the job you want unless you pick the “right” major.
Truth: Students across all academic disciplines land exciting jobs every day!

Myth: Everyone in my life will disown me if I choose the “wrong” major.
Truth: While your choice of major may prove to be shocking to others in your life at first, you will find encouragement and support from others throughout your process.

It is important to explore your options.  UVM has a very rich, diverse curriculum and faculty and staff who are here to support your learning.  You can also research possible majors and career outcomes by using the resources offered by Career Services, and outside resources (such as  You should gather as much information as you need to make your decision comfortably and confidently.

If you are a current UVM student and want to talk more about choosing a major, please come to drop-in hours at Career Services, L/L E-140, Monday- Thursday from 1-4, or at the Davis Center on Tuesdays from 11-1, in Rosa Parks Place.


Doing Good, Doing Well: Need Direction?


So many choices to make! So many places to go! So many decisions awaiting!

Life doesn’t start after graduation.  From majors to jobs to internships, to how to spend your weekend or your day – decisions keep rolling in.

Having a sense of mission can help serve as a lens for the smallest decision – like how to spend the next hour – to the larger ones – as in how to spend your life.  Companies, movements, organizations have missions to guide them:

People also have missions as well that guide them – here are a few for inspiration and ideas:

  • Art: JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases.
  • Hunger: Jamie Oliver, is creating strong, sustainable movement to educate children about food & inspire families to cook again.
  • Women: Eve Ensler waging a global campaign to end violence toward women.
  • Compassion:  Karen Armstrong, co-created the Charter of Compassion, based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.

How about you? What is your mission?  What excites, motivates, and inspires you to get up in the morning?  Not sure? Once a month, we are offering a workshop, Creating a Personal Mission Statement and Action Plan.

Come put into words what matters to you and identify small steps to guide your days, your job search, your life.