Job Fair Follow-Up: Insights from an Employer

Randy Blender of Enterprise Holdings

Organization: Enterprise Holdings
Representative: Randi Blender, Talent Acquisition Manager

The Job Fair is over! What do you suggest that students do to follow up?

When I meet someone at the Job Fair, it’s always nice to receive a thank you and see his/her online application.

If a student secures an interview from the Job Fair, what should they do to prepare?

Learn as much as you can about the company, explore their website, connect via LinkedIn to learn more. Get prepared to interview: ensure you have a suit or appropriate outfit and transportation, practice answering interview question and build your confidence. Think, what kind of person does the company want to hire and what are your strengths, why should someone hire you?

What if a student wasn’t able to attend the Job Fair or didn’t connect with a particular recruiter?

Get the list of employers and reach out to employers. From my perspective, if someone didn’t make it and had interest I would think he/she would call or email me, apologizing for missing the fair and express interest in learning more about the opportunity and how to get started with applying.

What do you recommend that students do next to find jobs and explore careers?

Do informational interviews and be prepared with questions. Think of friends’ parents, your own mentors, coaches, and professors. Ask them about job searching and how they landed where they are.  Call a staffing agency, ask them questions about the job market, and ask for a referral. Search Linked In and seek out connections and learn more about career paths and companies.

Summer Internships—Is It Too Late?

Opportunity Next Exit

It’s almost April—and perhaps long about now you are wishing you followed through with that summer internship search you had planned to do in October. Is there any hope of landing a good internship at this late date?

The answer is yesif you are willing to expand your ideas of internship options and put some real effort and follow-up into the process now. While many of the deadlines for highly competitive national internships may have passed, there are still possibilities for excellent internships with smaller companies and non-profits that will allow for a high degree of responsibility and learning. Here in Vermont, the options for internships listed through Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Vermont Technology Council include internships in marketing, web design, and communications with cutting edge Vermont companies like , MicroStrain, Vermont Energy Efficiency Corporation (VEIC). Check out listings for a wide variety of organizations on Catamount Job Link as well.   Check out ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, Fletcher Allen Health Care and more! Many local firms offer even more opportunities for learning and growth than some large, national firms with larger intern staffs.

Not a match for your interests? No problem– you can create-your-own-adventure!  Use your imagination or our Career Services resources to identify organizations and possible internship activities of interest, and then get to work. Check out the websites, make calls to determine an appropriate contact within the organization, and call or email to see if there is a project you could complete for them. Be prepared to make a case for what you could contribute to the organization (and a copy of your resume!).  Not a fan of cold calls? No one is—but do push yourself. Persistence and follow up is key to internship and job search.

Remember how people really get jobs?  You know… networking? Networking works for internships too, so start talking to your professors, friends, family, neighbors, and our UVM alumni career connections. Use our UVM LinkedIn Career Connection. Let these contacts know the skills you bring and those you are hoping to develop. They can all connect you with folks who might just need an intern with your major and some good skills.

One final question—what about credit? Several options exist for students of all majors to earn internship credit in the summer. Check out EDSS 239 or CDAE 196—or check with your department.

Intrigued? Stop by Career Services Drop-In Hours to learn about which options might be best for you.  Why wash pots when you could be doing financial planning, event planning for a non-profit or investigating misdemeanors? There’s no end to the supply of create-your-own internships, so start imagining –and acting– today!

~Mary Beth

He Got His Job Through the Job Fair; So Can You!

CED at Job Fair

Guest Blogger: Owen Manahan, ‘10
Job Title: Management Trainee
Employer: Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED)

1. You got your current job after attending a UVM Job Fair.  What do you do and what do you like about it?

I was hired by Consolidated Electrical Distributors after meeting them at the UVM Spring Job Fair.  CED is one of the largest electrical distributors in the country and is a Fortune 500 Company.  I am currently about halfway through their industry leading management trainee program.  This training program is unique and has offered me the opportunity to learn about every aspect of both CED, and the electrical industry as a whole.  I really enjoy the day-to-day interactions with customers, as well as the in depth views of how such a company works internally. In the past two years I have also had to opportunity to travel extensively for trainings and have met some fantastic people in the process.  It is exciting to know that within just a few years of graduating from UVM I will have the opportunity, and be prepared, to manage a multi-million dollar location.

2.  What did you do to prepare for the Job Fair ahead of time?

Before the career fair I looked up most of the companies that I was interested in online, though I will admit I did not find too much about CED.  We are a privately owned company, so there is not as much information publicly available when compared to other companies of this size.  I also made sure I had my resume ready to go and a few questions prepared to ask.

3.  Why do you think that you stood out to CED as a strong candidate?

I think some qualities that made me stand out to CED were strong communication skills, a sales oriented mindset, and the fact that I wasn’t just looking for any job right out of school.  I was looking for a company that could offer a career.  After the fair I followed up with an email, and was contacted a few days later for an initial phone interview.

4.  What advice do you have for students looking for jobs and internships?

My advice to students heading to a career fair would be to take some time beforehand and look into who is going to be there to talk to.  There are so many different types of businesses represented that it can become a little intimidating trying to find one where you think you will be compatible.  Conversations at fairs are often very brief and surface level, so if you have a little bit of knowledge about a company going into it, you can prepare yourself with questions that will give you a better opportunity to dig deeper into what they are all about in just a short amount of time.  That being said, if you don’t have time to do any background checking, or can’t find the information you are looking for, don’t be put off.  A career fair is the first step in opening a conversation, so don’t hesitate to go up to anybody there and just start talking!

The Spring Job Fair is Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 2-5pm, 4th Floor, Davis Center

See Who’s Coming to the Spring 2012 Job Fair
Job Fair Preparation and Tips

Savvy Seniors: Applying

“8-month-old Micah laughs hysterically while daddy rips up a job rejection letter.”

“What,” you may ask, “is so complicated about Applying for Jobs?”  Well, applying for jobs and internships is more than seeing a job posted on, sending off a resume & cover letter and then waiting for a response. If that’s all you’re doing, you could be in for a long wait.

The primary problem is that that method, by itself, doesn’t often yield the results you are looking for. According to many sources, at least 75% of jobs aren’t even advertised.  How do you find these hidden jobs? Check out Techniques for Tapping Into the Hidden Job Market on JobHuntersBible, a great resource for your job search.  This process is mostly about building relationships with people in your field of interest. Think: volunteering, networking, informational interviewing, and more! (Please see earlier Savvy Senior posts for tips on networking and informational interviewing.)

Another challenging issue, is that when you apply for jobs, you open yourself up to rejection.  It’s not unusual to get discouraged when those first few resumes you send out don’t yield any phone calls asking you to come in for an interview.  Once you get discouraged, it can be hard to keep putting yourself out there, to keep networking and applying for jobs with enthusiasm.

When disappointment strikes, it’s important to figure out how to maintain your positive energy and continue with your search. Check out this article for some ideas:  Top 10 Ways to Deal with Job Rejection.  Then, examine how you are going about the job search. Get a fresh perspective, reenergize, and try something new.  Also, make sure you aren’t making these 20 Avoidable Job Search Mistakes.

Remember, when you are looking for that first job out of college, it just takes one “Yes.”

See the Senior Checklist for more tips and resources under the Apply section.

Good luck!


Why Your Major and GPA Shouldn’t Haunt You

Some students may feel that their major and GPA brand them for life. Such fears can be only exacerbated by the recent recession and an uncertain job market. But these two labels are not an undergraduate’s most defining characteristics and putting too much emphasis on them may cause unneeded stress.

Succesful Individuals with Unlikely Majors

Zac Bissonnette, guest writer for the New York Times, gives several great reasons why students shouldn’t let money be the deciding factor in choosing their course of study. Firstly, students are more likely to succeed in their major field if it is something they are passionate about. Secondly, and perhaps most interestingly, research has shown that an individual’s earnings do not significantly differ across majors.

Although it depends on the industry, for many employers, GPA is not nearly as important as something like relevant internships, according to Laura Morsch of She cites a 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ “which found that 70 percent of hiring managers do not report screening applicants based on their GPA.”

Asleep while studying

Heather Huhman, a writer for the Examiner, explains that a GPA is a fallback for employers looking to pare down the plethora of applications they receive for a job. The solution? Find other ways to set yourself apart from the crowd, such as communicating experiences that exemplify leadership, creativity or entrepreneurship.