Meet Mehanna Borostyan, a junior studying Political Science & Global Studies and a Senior Career Peer Mentor at The Hub. Mehanna was an office assistant in the Career Center as a first-year student, where she learned about the peer mentor opportunity through natural networking. She clearly recalls one conversation with staff member Jill Hoppenjans who encouraged her to consider the opportunity. The idea of growing into a leadership role and helping her peers by sharing her own experiences was appealing and she applied. Continue reading
Chapter 1: Finding Focus
I entered college knowing exactly what I thought I wanted to study. Like many, I left college pursuing a very different path and preparing for a very different career than I had imagined. Subsequently, I earned a professional degree from UVM (a M.Ed.) and was on track for a career in higher education. Working with college-aged students in an educational setting was a dream come true.
Chapter 2: Trying Something New
Fast-forward almost 6 years: I yearned to keep growing and learning, to hone my skills and gain more professional responsibilities. One day I stumbled upon a part-time position planning and marketing for the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. It seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up – a part-time position which would allow me to test new professional waters, meet a new community in Vermont and put my event planning and marketing skills to work in a new setting. Not to mention: Vermont cheese.
Chapter 3: Making New Connections
I applied, interviewed and was subsequently hired. The work was an enriching diversion from my full time position at UVM – it offered me a new context in which to grow and introduced me to some of the most amazing food entrepreneurs in the state. While working for the Cheesemakers of Vermont, I was unwittingly building a new network. This network consisted of farmers, producers, and marketing professionals. Six months later I was recruited by one of these contacts – Vermont Creamery – to manage their marketing program full time.
While I wouldn’t recommend working 60+ hour weeks across two jobs, my experience highlights the many forms networking can assume. Working a part time job, volunteering, or informational interviewing are all ways that networking can happen. The past year and a half has taken me to new places, pushed me to grow quickly and ultimately charted a path for a career I love and never could have previously imagined. Networking opened the door.
Most career journeys require one-part focus, one-part flexibility, and three-parts people. Follow your interests, bring your authentic self, and you never know what might unfold.
Vilma Rodrigues-Silva is the Recruitment Manager of the Northeast Region for City Year New Hampshire. She goes to lots of job fairs, so we asked her about the best ways for candidates to stand out after the event.
Is there an appropriate way to follow up with an employer after a Job Fair, even if I didn’t get a chance to meet you there?
YES! Following up with an email is fine if you missed us at a fair or could not make it. You do not need to be shy about letting a recruiter know that you are interested in a program (that is what we are here for!), and there is no need to explain in detail about why you didn’t make it to the fair. Following up with an email shows us that you are taking the initiative to learn more about our program, and that is a good thing.
What do you think about thank you notes after a Job Fair?
Personalized, hand-written notes are amazing! However, if I received these from even half of all of the students I met at job fairs, I would have hundreds of them coming in and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I believe handwritten notes should be left to more personal interactions or after an interview. All other instances of meeting at fairs or presentations could be followed up with an email note, thanking the recruiter for their time and for coming to campus. What makes a good note is simply saying thank you and mentioning something specific that you learned or that the recruiter said that stuck with you.
Is it possible to follow up too much?
Yes, there is a “too much policy.” It’s important to show recruiters that you are interested in their program, but keep in mind that there is an abundance of information on the websites and brochures. You don’t want to ask a recruiter something that could simply be found on the homepage of a website. However, if you need clarification on something you’ve read, want more information on something you found, or want a personal account of the recruiter’s experience, then feel free to call and email.
What else should candidates know?
I – and many recruiters – love talking to students at fairs! If you already know a little about a program and plan on visiting the fair, you should come prepared to ask questions to gain more knowledge. If you randomly end up at a table because it caught your attention, politely introduce yourself and ask to learn more! Don’t be afraid to inquire for more information, and to tell the recruiter a little about yourself. Show confidence!
Maya Thomas ‘11
Civil Solutions, a division of ARH Engineering
Major: Environmental Science (RSENR)
How would you describe what you do on a typical day?
I work with spatial data and create maps – lots of maps. Most of our clients are local governments (counties and municipalities) and we provide mapping services for them. For example, we take data from tax maps and convert it to digital data so clients can look at it on the fly on our web service or on their own GIS software.
What motivates you to go to work everyday?
I really love GIS! I love seeing the things I map everyday. I drive on the roads I add to my road maps, I pass by the buildings I digitize, and I learn about new municipalities in New Jersey every day.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?
Work on as many GIS projects as you can in your coursework. Incorporate it into your research and internships. Connect with your faculty to find out about internships. From what I’ve seen, certification (different from certificates!) is important in this field. Whether a certification is from GISCI, Esri, ASPRS, or other organizations, start thinking about ways to prepare for those exams or applications. And, of course, network! Both my full-time jobs after college were gained from building connections.
Describe your best day at work.
My best day at work is when I have tons of different projects to do. Mapping out a survey site for colleagues here, creating road maps there, updating parcels over here, and maintaining the web mapping service over there. The day goes by quickly and I feel so accomplished by the end of the day!
Spring semester is here and arriving with it, right on schedule, is career stress. Every day students come in worried about everything from majors, internships, resumes, career goals, and advanced studies to their purpose in life.
How do students reduce this stress? By taking action, one small step at a time. Start that resume, learn about how majors and careers connect, or talk to one person about a career field. To help, Career Services has a full schedule of workshops and events, as well as a web site jam-packed with resources and job postings, and skilled professionals ready to meet with students to smooth the way.
This semester we welcome 2 new staff members–both UVM alumni. Lisa Torchiano will be offering career counseling and leading our alumni career programs, and Vanessa Santos Eugenio will be coordinating employer visits and managing our technology.
Here’s a quick list of some ways to get started. Watch www.uvm.edu/career for more, including events for specific career interests!
Prepare with: See Our Calendar of Upcoming Events
Resume Jump Starts- Mondays at 4:15 in L/L E166
Market Yourself to Get Hired – Tuesdays at 4:15 in L/L E166
Senior Speed Event (Resumes, interviews, job searching)
Resumania! (Experts review your resume while you wait)
Resume Review through Catamount Job Link (upload your resume and we’ll review it)
Etiquette Dinner (Senior Class Council)
Meet with employers or research potential employers:
Catamount Job Link (Job and employer database)
Networking Night – Vermont (3/22 – 6PM Grand Maple Ball Room – Davis Center)
Networking Night – Washington, DC (In April – TBA)
Use web site resources:
Resumes & Cover letters
Choosing a Major
Dress to Impress
Considering Graduate School — Pre-law, Pre-health, Education & others
Consult with experts:
Drop-ins–10 minute quick consultations–are available Monday-Thursday between 1:00 and 4:00
Appointments can be scheduled in advance by calling 802-656-3450 or stopping by Career Services in L/L E140
Hope to see you soon!