Senior Series: Adapting your job search during COVID-19

Presenting: A Virtual Senior Series

These are uncertain times in our world. Like many of us, you are probably adjusting to this new normal of how you are working, learning, and connecting with your communities. And as seniors, you may be wondering or feeling anxious about how COVID-19 could impact your job search and post-graduation goals. We have created this new Senior Series newsletter to help you explore possibilities, control the parts of the job search that you can, better understand the ones you can’t, and confidently navigate your post-graduation next steps. You can expect to hear from us each Monday for the next five weeks with support, resources, and encouragement during this new normal. These newsletters are crafted with you in mind and aim to provide tips and activities that will help you launch a job search or enhance your current process.

To make the most of these resources, we suggest you set aside some time to re-visit this information later in the week as they are pretty densely packed. Under normal circumstances, we would have recommended setting aside an hour or two each week to work on a different aspect of your job search – so returning to these newsletters might be a helpful way to structure that time.

Topics:

  • Adjusting to a new normal 
  • How to network and job search
  • Resumes and cover letters
  • Virtual interviewing
  • Negotiating your salary

A New Normal

Just two months ago, the virus that is impacting our nation and world seemed far away for many in the United States. Today’s reality is quite different. As is true for our personal lives and campus operations, organizations are adapting to this new normal in different ways. Most fall into one of three categories: pausing their hiring processes, laying off workers, or gearing up for growth. We have spoken with employers in each of these positions and have heard one recurring theme: this is temporary. With creativity, agility, hard work, and some patience, we can get through this.

While this new reality has shifted our economy, the kinds of positions you might expect to find, and which employers are actively hiring, much of our job search advice remains the same: prepare your materials, network as much as possible, and leverage online tools. You may need to re-consider your short and long term goals, stay flexible in considering different industries or geographic locations, and practice putting yourself out there – but this is the reality for many job searchers under normal economic circumstances, too. As you prepare to launch or fine-tune your post-grad job search, remember that we are always here to support you.

Connecting with the Career Center

One on one appointments. You can self-schedule a phone or video appointment by logging in to Handshake, clicking “Career Center” and then “Appointments.” Fill in the details and choose a date/time that works for you. Your Career Counselor will then set up a call by phone or video.
Blackboard modules. There are 15+ self-paced modules available in our Blackboard organization. Topics range from informational interviews and choosing a major to internships and resumes.
Resume and cover letter reviews. You can submit a draft of your resume or cover letter for an online document review via Blackboard. Expect to hear back from us within 1-3 business days.
Handshake. In addition to browsing and applying to open positions, check out specific employer profiles to learn more about their organization. You can read reviews written by other students and alums who have worked with them (there are over 100,000 in the system!) as well as answers to questions asked by students at schools all over the country. Be sure to complete your profile and make yourself visible to employers if you’d like to be contacted by recruiters.
Interest groups. While you’re fine-tuning your Handshake profile, don’t forget to join an Interest Group (or two!) via your Career Interest survey. This will sign you up for a monthly communication focused on your industry interests – including job/internship opportunities and curated resources. You’ll join a network of peers, staff, faculty, employers, and alums who share your passions – and networking is critical during these shifting economic times.
Events. We’re working on reformatting some of our events – stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. In the meantime, there are several virtual events hosted by employers from around the country posted in Handshake, including a number of virtual career fairs.
Online resources. Our website features several additional online resources. This includes Candid Career, GoinGlobal, UVM Connect, and more. You can learn more about each of them on our Career Tool Library page.

Making the most of your spring semester

As we know, what you do now impacts your future.

Whether it be getting your degree, obtaining experience in your desired field, or fostering connections with people you value. All of these are things that we, as students, are doing now to influence our future! All of these options can seem straightforward, but once you start delving into just how many options there are, it can be overwhelming. So today we are going to line out a few different routes you can take to set yourself up for success.

  1. Getting your degree.
    You should be so proud of yourself that you’re here, you’re in school, and you’re trying your best. There are also so many resources on campus to help you succeed in your degree. Whether it be your academic advisor or the Advising Center, the Career Center, different identity centers, Living Well, etc… all of these resources are here for you, regardless of what year you’re in.
  2. Finding and accessing experience in your field.
    This can be really low pressure and a lot of fun. Take the time now to explore your field and find your niche within it. This can be done through volunteering, job shadowing, connected with alumni, internships, part-time jobs, and so much more. Many job shadowing opportunities can be even just a couple hours one time. Internships can be in the summer or during the school year or spring break. There are endless opportunities and there is certainly a variety out there for every student. Stop by the Career Center to chat with a peer mentor about what is right for you. Also… did you know that UVM offers a scholarship for unpaid/underpaid internships? Definitely something worth checking out. The application is due in March!
  3. Last but certainly not least… fostering connections.
    We always hear about how who you know is so important. But how do you find these people you’re supposed to know?? Networking! Thankfully in this day and age there are many online platforms that promote networking whether that is LinkedIn, UVMConnect, Bumble Bizz, or good old-fashioned networking events. Your academic advisor is also an excellent connection who knows many alums and industry experts who might be valuable to you! A great networking opportunity to attend is the Arts, Media & Communication Networking Night on February 20th, or the UVM Spring Job & Internship Fair on March 18th. This is an excellent time to practice chatting with professionals and employers, a time to practice your elevator speech, or just to get comfortable talking with unfamiliar people. Also, the Exploring Group is hosting our very first themed drop-in hours this week! It will be focused on networking. You can come in to chat with Aren or Victoria about anything networking related. All people of all backgrounds and years are strongly encouraged to come and chat!

Feel free to come by the Career Center any time because we’re here to help you with all your career-related needs. And please keep your eye out for upcoming events from the Exploring group (spoiler: they’re going to be awesome).

It’s time to set yourself up for a successful semester and summer!

— Victoria, Exploring Interest Group Peer Leader

New Year, New Opportunities

We hope you all had an amazing winter break and welcome back to UVM for another wonderful semester. We here at the Career Center and within the Exploring group wish nothing but success for you and remember – we are here to facilitate that every step of the way!

Here are a few key things to keep in mind in order to cultivate your version of success:

  1. Time management. It is a new semester so it’s the perfect time to implement strategies in order to better your time management. Perhaps try out using different types of calendars whether it be a traditional planner, Google calendars, or something like a Panda Planner! A Panda Planner can be great because it focuses on each day and emphasizes gratitude not only for the things around you, but also for yourself.
  2. Keep up with self-care. Yes, you are important. So, make sure that you are giving yourself enough time in order to feel good because how we feel internally comes out in everything we do. Do something new or fun, maybe check out some events put on by UVM Bored or look into some offerings from Living Well. Living Well offers appointments for free massages, drop-in counseling, and sex education and supplies.
  3. Realize that there are ebbs and flows in everything. Just know that every aspect in life, whether it is academic or personal, has ebbs and flows. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself or life around you stumbling. Just know that you can conquer anything, and we choose what we do with each day. Perhaps try journaling in order to reflect back on both good and tough times. Even creating a note in your phone can be powerful!
  4. Keep exploring! Try out new things, understand yourself deeper, meet new people, explore your interests, dive into what makes you happy and excited. The Exploring Group team is so excited to help you make that happen. So, please check out some of the events we have coming up and know you can always reach out to us for help or guidance.

Hopefully over winter break you were able to recharge, relax, and destress. This time for ourselves is so important because now we can take on the new semester and new year, and feel successful about where we’re headed.

Spotlight: Shelly Salzbrunn, Class of ’20

            Shelly Salzbrunn is a senior Public Communication major. After graduating in December, Shelly hopes to travel to Italy and begin working on a fashion project. She’ll begin working with American Eagle in May. This past summer, Shelly held an internship position in production and sourcing for AE. Her responsibilities were centered in the women’s woven tops department, where her main focus was on “core” tops (as opposed to detailed shirts). Moreover, Shelly was responsible for vendor communications. Her duties included designing clothing in-house in New York City, selecting materials, and sending both the design and materials to be produced in other countries. She also had to monitor daily changes made to price and collaborate with merchandising. Shelly was responsible for making sure that the pricing for all pieces were accurate, as well as monitoring and creating updates in the system. As you can tell, Shelly had a full experience with lots of opportunities to practice what she learned in the classroom!

            American Eagle was an attractive company to intern at for Shelly because she is very interested in responsible sourcing. AE has a large task force working on sustainability in the fashion industry. Shelly explained that she came to UVM as a nursing major but always had an interest in fashion. After opening up her own online clothing store her freshman year, she was successful in breaking even! Two summers ago, she was an intern at aerie, where she discovered her love for fashion, PR, and marketing. To get started, Shelly completed a career workshop called “Brand Girls,” which she became involved with after realizing she needed help to break into the fashion industry. When she started the career workshop, she had a mentor that worked at Glamour Magazine who helped her with resumes, cover letters, how to gain a personal network, and how to use LinkedIn. Next, Shelly applied to about thirty-five different internships in fashion and after only hearing back from four, she was able to submit her resume to AE, complete research to prepare for an interview, and eventually get the job.

            Shelly’s internship with American Eagle exposed her to many areas of the fashion industry! She learned how to be a good teammate in a corporate environment, to be self-sufficient while maintaining professionality, and how to grow and take risks in her work. Overall, she was able to learn so much about the fashion industry in general, as well as how to work in a rapidly changing environment!

            Her first internship with Aerie had a positive impact on her values because they value body positivity and it was very clear in the work environment. She wants to continue to work for AE because of her closely aligning values and she is thrilled about their recent work with sustainability and getting involved. Shelly’s overarching goal is to work for a company with a good work environment that also is empowering and uplifting. Her experiences have taught her how important it is to bring people up and how fashion is used as a vehicle to do that. She discovered that what people wear is really important to them and relates to confidence, self-esteem, and individuality, which makes it incredibly important. A major lesson that Shelly has learned is that you can go into work thinking that you will not influence many people, but, what you are doing really does impact so many peoples’ everyday lives.

            Shelly’s internship experiences the past two summers have given her a glimpse into what a future job would be like in the fashion industry. At the end of this past summer, Shelly had to give a presentation to the Vice President of Production at AE, where she had to carry out three samples that the line could have. Her main learning outcome was that although she had taken public speaking classes and was comfortable with presenting in class, it was still an amazing experience to sit in a corporate office and prepare a final project for someone that may be her future employer. 

Going Home.

It’s hard to believe it is almost finals week and the end of the fall semester. The Thanksgiving break serves as a great chance to recharge, prepare and have fun before the end of a busy semester!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when going home for Thanksgiving break:

  1. Take this time to review your schedule for next semester and see if any classes you are interested in have open spots! Choosing a class that will fulfill you rather than just fulfill a requirement can help soothe the soul.
  2. Connect with alums using UVM Connect! This resource will allow you to connect with UVM alumni who have similar career interests. Use the time this week to reach out to potential mentors who are happy to connect with you to learn more about a chosen field.
  3. Create or polish your resume! With the start of a new semester you probably have an interest to apply to opportunities for the summer and/or fall, so using this time is a great way to get ahead on preparing for that search. For assistance, check out the Career Center’s Resume Module at go.uvm.edu/ccbb for further instruction on creating a strong resume.
  4. Take time to relax and take care of yourself- whatever that means for you. Whether that’s cozying up with your favorite Netflix show, grabbing brunch with some friends, traveling to see family, or maybe a combination of the three.

Thanksgiving break allows us to have a week off with no class obligations. So, if you can balance this time away by preparing yourself for the end of the semester, having fun, and taking time to rest you’ll return to UVM ready to close out 2019 feeling strong.

Julia Carlson, Exploring Interest Group Peer Leader

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