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Volunteer with TeleHealth Access for Seniors

We have amazing students at the University of Vermont who get involved in some wonderful organizations. This month we’d like to introduce you to Mimi Hsu, a senior, who has found a creative and impactful way to volunteer despite pandemic. Learn about the organization she has  joined, Telehealth Access for Seniors. This  new non-profit, founded earlier this year by students at Yale University, has already made a palpable difference.

  • Meet Mimi Hsu (she/her) ‘21
    • Major: Biochemistry
    • Career Goal: Unsure exactly what but knows she is interested in the healthcare field.  Considering going to PA school.
    • How did you become a volunteer for TeleHealth Access for Seniors? She heard about it through the Pre-health listserv and emailed the volunteer coordinator
    • What is TeleHealth Access for Seniors?
      • Given COVID-19, most medical practices have switched to a telehealth model where doctors connect with patients via video chat. Unfortunately, many elderly, low-income patients lack the camera-enabled devices necessary to attend these appointments. To help solve this problem, we collect old smartphones, tablets, and laptops for elderly patients so they can receive care for chronic conditions while avoiding the risk of infection. We also provide remote tech support and easy-to-use guides for how to set up devices, FaceTime, and various telehealth apps. We currently have a volunteer network of about 300+ students across the country and have donated 1860 devices and raised $80,000+.
      •  Volunteers coordinate with their state team to spread the word and seek device donations through social media, service organizations, news outlets, etc. Additionally, volunteers help collect, reset, and sanitize the devices at their homes before sending them to their local clinic or VA. We also ask volunteers to participate in weekly meetings with their state team.
  • Mimi’s responsibilities as a student volunteer
    • Mimi was recently promoted to become a Vermont State Lead for the organization. This means she is now helping with volunteer recruitment and doing more administrative tasks. Prior to being a state lead, she dabbled in many different tasks. She learned how to write grants and dabbled in alumni outreach as well as tech support. There are also some fundraising options for students to help out with, but Mimi personally has not had much involvement in that. The volunteers generally pick up donated devices or organize drop off centers for people to donate devices. Overall, Mimi says there are a lot of different tasks you can choose to do and it is up to you, as the volunteer, to choose which ones you would like to focus on.
    • Mimi’s favorite & least favorite part about working for organization
      • Favorite Part: Mimi feels that this organization has allowed her to meet many people in the state of Vermont. Especially, with COVID, she has enjoyed the constant social interaction that this organization has.
      • Least Favorite Part: At the beginning she felt a little lost because this position requires a lot of self-motivation. It is a type of volunteer position where no one is going to hold your hand and tell you want to do. However, there are plenty of resources and people willing to help and teach you, you just have to ask!
    • The Time Commitment
      • According to Mimi, the time commitment is up to you. You set your hours. However, she generally devotes 5-10 hours a week to the organization.
    • How has this experience impacted her?
      • Between doing this and volunteering at 2 homeless shelters Mimi has begun to form strong ties with the Vermont community. She definitely believes that her networking skills/her ability to form long-lasting relationships with others have grown exponentially since starting the position. She also has realized how close the Community Health Centers work with low-income and seniors to provide adequate care. All her experiences within the organization have been positive. Mimi encourages that anyone interested joins since it is such a rewarding experience.
    • Additional things to know if you’re considering joining
      • YOU DO NOT NEED A CAR: Mimi stresses that a lot of people are hesitant to join because they feel they need a car to go pick up donated devices. She says a lot of pick up points are in a biking or walking distance.
    • Want to Join?
      • Things have slowed down since high school student volunteers are back in school and have less time on their hands. The organization is actively seeking student volunteers. If students are interested in joining Mimi and the rest of the Telehealth access volunteers, they can contact the volunteer coordinator Abe at abe.baker-butler@telehealthforseniors.org and mention that they found out about the program through Mimi Hsu.

Senior Series: Negotiating your salary

Welcome to the final installment of the Senior Series newsletter. In this installment, we’ll explore salary negotiation — which is an often-overlooked portion of the job search. While the thought of negotiation can leave many job-seekers feeling uncomfortable, it can be especially challenging for a first-time job searcher. Keep in mind that your employer doesn’t have all of the power in this situation. Advocate for yourself, consider what leverage you have, and take steps to enter a salary negotiation prepared because you might still be leaving money on the table if you don’t.  

A decent portion of the salary negotiation process begins before you even get an offer. In order to put yourself in the best position to negotiate you have to have an understanding of your needs, skill set, and the average salaries for similar positions in your industry.  

As we’ve shared in previous messages, we recommend setting aside some time each week to work on different aspects of the job search process. This newsletter is pretty densely-packed, so consider breaking it up into smaller pieces. Be sure to schedule an appointment to meet with a career counselor if you’d like to speak about this in a one on one setting.

Three members of the regional alumni board have volunteered to talk with you more about salary negotiation– Sarah Madey ‘09, Senior Manager of Global and Digital Marketing at Hasbro; Aimee Marti ’91, VP Branding and Corporate Social Responsibility at Aspenti Health; and Thomas Stirling ‘10, President of Stirling, Inc. Consider sending them a message in UVM Connect! 

And remember: Even though you are graduating, alums can still access Career Services for free! So please don’t hesitate to reach out and consult with us as you navigate life as a new graduate.  

Newsletter Archive

You can catch up on past topics at any time by checking out our newsletter archive. Topics include:

  • Adapting: Prepare for a job search during the “new normal”   
  • Searching: Stay visible and connected while job searching  
  • Drafting: Work on your resume and cover letter   
  • Interviewing: Tips for virtual interviews  
  • Deciding: Negotiating your salary 

Do Your Homework

Prior to Applying

A great place to start is with determining the cost of living in the location you wish to start your career in. Create a monthly budget for yourself including expenses such as rent, groceries, utilities, transportation, gym membership, and recreation. Don’t forget to include student loan payments if you have them. Cost of living calculators are wonderful tools to help you get an idea of what these necessities will cost in your city of interest. Nerd Wallet allows you to compare these expenses from one city to the next so you can determine what your budget may look like in a new city or you can compare options to help choose the most cost-effective option.   

Once you have an idea of what type of salary you will need to get by, start exploring what you can expect to earn. Glassdoor allows users to log salaries for positions they have previously held. Glassdoor then aggregates that information and provides an average salary for those positions. This information will be beneficial in your search in that it will help you eliminate jobs that won’t meet your needs, allowing you to spend more time prioritizing the applications for those that will. 

During the Application

Completing this research prior to applying to a job can benefit you when you come across a pesky application that asks you to list your desired salary. This question can be tricky. If you list something too high, you might get cast out of the running early. If you list something too low, you might undersell you worth in this role. If you’ve conducted your research ahead of time, you should be able to approach this scenario confidently. Here are a few pointers that we suggest if you do find yourself face to face with this question: 

Application platforms work differently and allow for different submissions. 

  • If the platform allows you to enter letters to be submitted, enter “Open to Negotiating”. This will allow you some wiggle room when negotiating post offer. 
  • If you are unable to letters in the text box, try to submit a salary range. Use the average salary you uncovered as a mid-point for your range but make sure the lower number of you range is not lower than what you budgeted for. 
  • If you are unable to enter a range, use the average salary you uncovered in your research. 

Important Considerations 

When applying for a job, salary isn’t the only thing to consider. Benefits play an important role in the equation as well. The salary for one job might look low in comparison to another but make sure to see what they include for insurance (medical, dental, visual, life)? Do they provide a plan to contribute to a 401K or 403b, and if so, how much would they match if you were to contribute? It might be hard to place a high value on these items when comparing salaries but a decent benefits package can save (and earn) you a lot of money in the long run. You will often get the best picture on benefits once an offer is made but try searching the human resources page of the company prior to applying as many companies will include some information for applicants there. 

Once the Offer is Made

Who You’ll Talk To

Now that you have thought strategically about how to align your needs with that of the company’s, you will start the negotiation once you have an offer at hand. Depending on the organization size, you can expect to speak to several people. Specifically, you can count on your prospective supervisor being involved with your negotiations as well as an HR Representative. You will most likely conduct negotiation over the phone, but you should expect to receive your final offer in writing.

Framing Your Negotiation

Collaborative Negotiation

There are many ways for you to start bargaining your prospective salary and benefits package with your future employer. One of the many approaches, including collaborative negotiation. Not everyone needs to be hardball negotiator to achieve an optimum result. By understanding the organizations’ interests, motivation, and values, you hold the key to reaching a win-win resolution.  

“And, not but” 

Once an offer has been made, open the conversation by thanking the employer for their offer and ask for some time to reflect on their initial proposal. You may also want to acknowledge the unprecedented times we are living in and using empathetic statements will help you avoid the tension that comes with using “but” when countering an offer. Some companies will give you a deadline (usually no more than 5-7 business days), but you should also be prepared to give a timeframe.  

Asking for More

Take stock of what skills you have and what the company or organization needs. From your research before and during the application and interview process, you should already have a list of ways you can would go above and beyond in supporting the organization’s mission and the specific role they are hiring for. It is common to add around $1000 to $5000 to your initial offer, and no higher than the salary range that you found through your research. You might be tempted to provide a hard number; unless pressed by the employer, provide a range with the lower amount being the number you are most comfortable with. 

Looking Ahead

While the ongoing public health crisis might make it even more difficult to advocate for yourself, it is important to try so that negotiations can remain open in the future. Because of the current economy, the organization may not be able to meet your counteroffer. In light of the current circumstances, you might have to be more open to a lower final offer than you might have been under regular circumstances. If the employer is not able to offer a higher salary after your negotiation, consider proposing a later date to re-visit your pay rate.

For example, you might ask to re-visit your salary in six months, or when normal operations resume. If at all possible, try to be very specific with the date and time. This way, you will have time to prove yourself to the employer and ensure that you have concrete examples of how you have improved the organization – and the employer might have had time to get back on its feet financially. This strategy is key and will set you up for an opportunity to chat with your employer about your salary and benefits package after having some direct experience under your belt.  

Closing Thoughts

We know these are uncertain times, and the idea of negotiating an offer might feel even more intimidating than before. Do your best to articulate your worth, and know that employers will likely appreciate your confidence — and your flexibility, if they simply are not able to accommodate your counteroffer.

Last year, we had UVM alum and local employer Tom Parent host a workshop on salary negotiation. He gave a few quick pointers in a video after the event – check out his advice for first-time job seekers.

Take care, and keep an eye out for future communications to recent graduates from our office. We are wishing you all the best in your job search and hope you will reach out if there’s anything we can do to help!

Standing out to employers on Handshake

Handshake is a key partner in helping employers adjust to changes in the recruiting and hiring process due to COVID-19. Many employers have shifted to fully remote operations and realize that staying connected to potential talent and hiring for certain positions is essential to their company’s vitality and longevity.

As the #1 recruiting platform on college campuses, Handshake’s unique features help students showcase their skills and experience so employers can find the talent that aligns with their business. Employers are increasingly interested in searching for students with career interests and competencies that will bring positive, innovative solutions to the changing world of work.

More than ever organizations are turning virtual for their job search, FAST is no different, we are finding new and innovative ways to reach candidates. Handshake allows us to directly connect with students to invite them to our virtual events and let them know about current job openings.  We encourage students to put in the extra effort of updating their profile (past work experience, picture, extra curriculum activities, etc.) and utilize the different search functions in Handshake to see what companies are hiring and what jobs are available.” 

–  Sarah Bruet, Fast Enterprises, LLC

Maximizing your presence on Handshake gives proactive recruiters a chance to message you directly, and you will be well-poised to apply to new opportunities that are right for you.

Companies Hiring:

Many employers are actively hiring college students on Handshake today. You can discover more about these companies on Handshake’s Blog, as well as find local and regional opportunities by searching the platform. Type the word “remote” into the keyword search box to find jobs/internships that might work for you regardless of where you are sheltering in place. Remember to check back regularly in order to see new postings daily!

Your Profile:

Optimizing your Handshake profile by adding important details about you and your interests is key for Handshake to recommend opportunities or virtual events but also helps employers find you! Use the resume auto-upload feature and Handshake’s Profile Completion bar to help you fill out the following areas of your profile:

  • Photo
  • Graduation Date
  • Career Interests
  • Experiences
  • Organizations where you have worked/interned/volunteered
  • A list of your skills
  • Resume (Need help on your resume? Watch this module on Blackboard, or make an appointment with a career counselor.) Emily to add key links here

Career Interests:

Many employers actively search students by using filters to identify potential candidates by location, job type and roles to meet their company requirements. Filling out the career interests fields is a way to add specificity to your profile and ensures recruiters can search you under a variety of filters. Students who have filled out these fields are 2.5x more likely to see and apply for relevant opportunities. Work & Volunteer Experience, Courses (especially for STEM or technical fields), Organizations & Extracurriculars, Skills, including “hard skills” like software programs and coding, and “soft skills” like communication are also important search criteria. Update your career interests to have a more tailored Handshake experience.

Recruiter Messages:

Over the last two months, Handshake has seen a 250% increase in employer messages sent to students. 80% of students who fill out three or more profile fields get messaged from recruiters, so it’s important to check Handshake for new messages and respond thoughtfully. Recruiters may reach out to invite you to an upcoming event, apply for a job/internship, or to help you learn more about their company. Communicating with recruiters is a great way to expand your network and learn more about potential opportunities for now or in the future. Handshake shares four tips on how to successfully respond to a recruiter’s message to increase your chance of getting hired.

Virtual Events:

Many companies have quickly transitioned their on-campus visits to virtual events and have posted them on Handshake. There are a variety of events that might be of interest, some are recruitment specific, but others might contribute to your career development in other ways. Many companies understand that in these unique times, students are re-imaging their job searches, being creative in building new skills and exploring companies. Attending Sherwin-Williams virtual session on “Asking & Answering Tough Interview Questions” or “AT&T is All of Us“ panel on the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion could be a productive way to spend time in between job searching.

Take Action:

In just a few minutes, you can have Handshake start working for you! The strategies above will help you optimize your profile, tailor your experience, connect you to recruiters and highlight job/internship opportunities of interest. Handshake’s mission is to “democratize access to opportunity” for all students, and fully utilizing this platform will keep you proactive during this uncertain time and focused on your short and long term career goals.

To get started, visit uvm.joinhandshake.com and log in with your UVM net ID and password.

Additional Handshake Resources:

Senior Series: Virtual Interviewing

This week, we’re covering all things virtual interviews. Though some organizations might be able to offer in-person interviews again this summer, it’s likely that many will opt for virtual interviews for initial screening, first-round interviews, and even final round interviews. While a video interview has some commonalities with more traditional in-person interviews, there are definitely some specific challenges and opportunities to take into account. 

Before we jump into this week’s newsletter, we just wanted to include a note to remind you all that we are thinking of you and hope that you are taking time to pause and practice self-care when you can. Living Well has many excellent resources, including a mindfulness SoundCloud and a bunch of virtual events. The identity centers (the Prism Center, the Mosaic Center for Students of Color, the Women’s Center, and the Interfaith Center) continue to offer support to students, as does the Office of Student & Community Relations for those living off-campus. The end of a semester and the start of a job search are both stressful times, which you might find is compounded by the ongoing public health crisis. If you need some support, please reach out. 

We also wanted to share an exciting new initiative launched by the Alumni Association. In UVM Connect, you can now join a group for students seeking remote internships to connect with alums who have the capacity to host them. Learn more in our latest blog post on networking, and join the group here. Three members of the regional alumni board have volunteered to talk with you more about interviewing – Ian Davis ’10 and G’16, Director of Finance, Vermont Department of Economic Development; Aimee Marti ’91, VP Branding and Corporate Social Responsibility at Aspenti Health; and Thomas Stirling ‘10, President of Stirling, Inc. Consider sending them a message in UVM Connect!

As we’ve shared in previous messages, we recommend setting aside some time each week to work on different aspects of the job search process. This newsletter is pretty densely-packed, so consider breaking it up into smaller pieces. And remember: We are always here for you! Schedule an appointment to speak with a career counselor via Handshake. 

Past & Future Topics 

Interview Basics

Purpose of Interviews 

While the purpose of you resume and cover letter is to get you an interview, the primary purpose of an interview is to get you the job. An interview is an opportunity for an employer to get to know the person behind the application materials. It is an opportunity to breathe life into the bullet points on your resume. In his book, You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education, author George Anders claims that interviews serve three purposes: for the employer to assess if you are capable to do the job you’ve applied for, to see if you will actually do the job you’ve applied for, and to determine compatibility.  Interviews may seem daunting in that interviewers have a lot of power in determining whether you receive an offer or not. Despite that, it is important to understand that you as the interviewee hold some power as well. An interview also affords you the opportunity to determine fit. It is your chance to meet your future employer and colleagues and to ask questions about projects and office culture.  Overall, a hiring committee would not invite you to an interview unless they were interested in you and what you could add to their organization. Remind yourself of that, take a deep breath, and get ready to share your story. 

Basic Interview Prep 

Before we continue, you did not read the last sentence of the previous paragraph incorrectly. You should be prepared to share your story with your interviewer. It is your opportunity to show the interviewers who you are and why your experience makes you the most qualified for the position. Interviews can be stress-inducing and might feel like a test with the number of questions thrown at you. The bright side is that if an interview is like a test, you know all the answers already because you lived them. Continuing with the test metaphor, your best study guides for an interview are your resume and cover letter. Familiarize yourself with each job experience on your documents and try to have a few solid stories to tell for each one. If you’re having trouble determining what would make for a good story, use the Career Competencies to frame your drafts (teamwork/collaboration, critical thinking/problem solving, oral/written communication, digital technology). 

Once you have an idea of what to include in these stories, it’s time to think about organizing your thoughts. The tool we recommend using to organize your thoughts is the S.T.A.R. Method. S.T.A.R. is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Each story you prepare to an interview should describe the situation you were in (location, time frame, job title, etc.), detail the task you were responsible for, explain the actions you took to accomplish that task, and conclude with the positive result of you taking those actions. Following this framework will ensure that you have well-crafted stories to share during your interview without the fear of over or under sharing. 

Types of Interviews 

Interviews will look different from one organization to the next. While one organization might conduct a few rounds of interviews, including a screening and final interview, another company might only conduct one and only one round of interviews. A screening interview is a tool used by hiring committees to narrow down their applicant pool and determine who they want to invite to a final interview. A screening interview is usually a 30 to 45 minutes conversation over the phone and may consist of a few broad questions. A final interview is usually conducted in person and can span anywhere between 30 minutes to the majority of a workday. During a final interview, you can expect to meet with several employees, answer a wide range of experiential and behavior-based questions, and could even be asked to give a presentation. Due to the wide variety regarding what an interview could look like, it is important to do your research and understand the scenario you are getting yourself into. When invited to an interview, read in detail the invitation and make sure to ask the hiring committee representative you are working with any questions you may have. 

One important thing to note is that, due to the pandemic, it is likely that most interviews at the moment will take place remotely (either through phone or video call). Luckily, many of the aspects of the interview process will remain the same regardless of the medium through which it takes place. You can find our general interview guide here:  https://www.uvm.edu/career/your-guide-interviewing 

If you still have questions or feel unsure about participating in a fully remote, interview process, keep reading to for pro-tips on how to fully prepare. 

Virtual Interviewing

Once you have landed a phone screen or virtual interview, you may be wondering “how do I make a good and lasting impression when I’m not in-person?” Believe it or not, there are important distinctions between how to prepare for a phone or virtual interview, that are just as important as preparing for being in-person. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you ace your upcoming phone/virtual interview:  

  • Be on time! This is an any easy one to show you’re organized and ready for the job. The recruiter/hiring manager will likely be calling you for a phone interview (vs. you calling the recruiter), so make sure that you are ready to pick up the call at the agreed upon time. If you are calling into a virtual/video interview, you don’t need to arrive early like you would an in-person interview, but you should be there no later than the confirmed start time. If the recruiter doesn’t call or arrive on the video call right at the agreed upon time, don’t worry. Recruiters tend to be busy in interviews throughout the day and may run a few minutes late. If 10-15 minutes pass without hearing anything, you might want to check in via email or call. 
  • Tech: If you have a phone interview (or an “initial screening”), make sure your phone is fully charged and that you are in a space that easily takes calls. The last thing you want is for your interview to be disrupted by not having your phone fully charged or losing service! When preparing for a virtual interview, make sure you download the correct software onto your phone, tablet or computer (if needed). Companies are using various virtual video platforms like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, etc. – some which require creating an account in advance, while others are web-based and all you do is click on a link to access the call. When in doubt, you can always practice a video call with a friend in advance or ask the recruiter/hiring manager any questions in advance. Don’t wait last minute to figure out the tech! 
  • Professional Dress: Since the recruiter cannot see you during a phone interview, according to Idealist.org how you dress is up to you. “On the one hand, if you do dress professionally, it’s less about impressing your potential employer and more about feeling more professional so that you perform better. But for some people, dressing casually works for them as they feel more comfortable.” This is the beauty of being at home – you can make the call. For a video interview though, it’s recommended that you dress for success (at least from the waist up!) and keep industry standards in mind. 
  • Preparing Your Space: Handshake Blog “How to Make a Good Impression in Your Virtual Job Interview” recommends thinking about your background space and ensuring you have a clean/well-organized background. If you have other individuals living with you, you may need to give them a heads up that you have a video interview, and to not be in the background (audibly/visually) whether you are on a phone or video interview. If you do anticipate some distractions, it’s okay to name it up front, like “my dog is in another room and might bark” or “I live next to the airport so planes might go overhead, my apologies in advance!” Remember recruiters are conducting interviews all the time and have likely heard it all, so it never hurts to give them a heads up. 
  • What to Say During the Interview and After: The good news is you will prepare the same way you would for an in-person interview by reviewing the company website, job description, and your resume and skills. Check out the Career Center’s Guide to Interviewing, which includes great sample interview questions and Handshake’s “Ace Your Virtual Interview With These Questions For the Recruiter.” And, don’t forget to send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. It is a demonstration of your interest, appreciation, and professionalism.  
  • Lastly, Take Care of Yourself! The day of the interview, do your best to practice self-care and participate in activities you normally would, such as eating a good breakfast, going for a walk or run, or talking to a friend for example, instead of cramming interview content and worrying. Remember the organization contacted you for a reason – you’ve got this! 

Additional Considerations

When you interview for a job, it’s important to consider the multiple ways employers will be assessing your skills. While traditional Q&A style interviews are common, you may also be given prompts, case studies, tests, projects, etc. in order to test your skills within a workplace context. We have gathered examples of additional interviewing methods that you might be asked to do. Please note that some of the following methods may be particular to a specific field or industry.  

Case Interviews. There is a common interview format within the field of consulting that you should be aware of called “case interviews.” These case studies ask the candidate to analyze and solve a business scenario. Check out this resource for additional advice and examples of case studies.  

Technical Interviews. If you are interviewing for a job that requires coding skills, your interviewer may conduct a “technical interview.” A technical interview is a specialized process that tests your coding skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Check out this comprehensive guide to prepare you for your technical interview.  

Artificial Intelligence Interviews. In place of a traditional screening interview, you might be asked to submit a recorded video for your interview that will be screen by an artificial intelligence system. In the last couple of years, tech companies have developed algorithms to identify traits organizations look for in their ideal candidates. In response, several large companies have adopted this software to help screen their large candidate pools. If selected for an AI interview, you will receive an email with instructions on how to log into their interviewing software. Once there, you will be prompted to record video responses to a few questions selected by the hiring committee. When completed, you ship your responses off to be reviewed by the algorithm and hope to hear back with a follow-up request. Overall, the AI interviewing process is almost completely devoid of human interaction and this can feel discouraging during the age of COVID-19 and social distancing. Big Interview offers a guide to AI interview prep, and you can always schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to talk strategy.

Closing Thoughts

While many employers are adjusting their hiring practices to include online/virtual interviews, it’s possible that you may be asked to interview in person – especially if the organization you’re applying for is considered essential. Check out this article that outlines guidelines for safe interviewing practices. While this is written for employers, it can offer helpful insight into what you might expect during the interview.

Building your network through online tools

Networking can be one of the most valuable uses of time in a job or internship search as it allows you to gather information that can help focus your career planning, clarify paths, and learn about opportunities. At its core, networking is about building relationships and exchanging information — and it’s okay that at some points in your career you’re gathering information more than exchanging. As students exploring careers, you should have lots of questions! And getting those questions answered will help you learn about your chosen field(s), tell your story better, and maybe even uncover some internship opportunities. While it may be intimidating to ask someone to meet (virtually or by phone at this time), you’ll be surprised to learn how many people are eager to help. Here are some tools that will help you in the process: 

UVM Connect

UVM Connect is an exclusive online community of UVM alums, students, staff, and faculty. From the platform’s directory, you can find and reach out to members who have offered to provide fellow UVM’ers career support. These folks have already raised their hands to help out and indicated on their profile how they would like to – such as discussing their industry or offering a shadowing opportunity.

Recently, UVM Connect launched a group for students interested in virtual internships to connect with alums who might have the capacity to offer an experience this summer. You can make a post in the group to introduce yourself, and be sure to browse the member list and reach out directly to any alums who work in an industry of interest and have indicated they are “Willing to Help.” Join the group here: Virtual Internships.

For tips on creating your profile, getting the most from your directory searches, and crafting your outreach message, check out the UVM Connect Module on Blackboard

LinkedIn

With more than 500 million members, LinkedIn is the largest professional social networking platform. LinkedIn provides a dynamic page for your online professional presence, a wealth of real-world information about careers, and a method for reaching out to members. 

As you build your network on LinkedIn, connect with those you know and trust. Start with friends, family, friends of family, classmates, faculty, supervisors, and mentors. Every connection you make expands your personal LinkedIn network and opens up more possibilities for people you can reach out to on the platform.

Use your UVM community on LinkedIn for support by joining two groups on the platform – University of Vermont Career Connection and the UVM Alumni Association. As a member of these groups (or any professional group on LinkedIn), you are able to reach out to members, whether you are connected on LinkedIn or not. 

The Alumni Tool is one of the most powerful parts of the platform. It enables you to filter the 89,000+ members of the UVM community on LinkedIn by where they live and work and what they do. You can also search by keyword – title, company, skill, etc. UVM’s Alumni Tool can help you identify alums pursuing careers of interest, living where you want to move, and sharing a major or other UVM community with you. For more information on these LinkedIn features and creating a strong profile, check out the LinkedIn module on Blackboard

Handshake

Handshake is much more than a job, internship, and event resource; it’s a networking tool too! Fellow students can be a wealth of information about their past experiences. From the Students tab, you can find peers from UVM or other institutions who have worked or interned at employers of interest. Handshake allows you to send them direct messages to help you learn from their experiences. You can also read reviews from past interns on employers’ profile pages or pose a question on the Q&A tab about specific peer experiences.

Handshake also enables you to connect directly with employers. From an employer’s profile, you can find contact information for recruiters and hiring staff. Filter the platforms 515K+ employers by industry and location from the employer’s tab. Explore these features and more by logging in to your Handshake account.  

Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that individuals you are reaching out to might be struggling due to COVID-19. In your initial networking outreach, it’s important to mention the challenging times to avoid your message being inadvertently interpreted as inappropriate or poorly timed. Check out the Career Center’s guide to networking. There you can find potential networking questions and sample outreach messages, which can be customized to your needs and the current climate.

If you have questions about networking, please reach out to Career Center. We’re holding virtual appointments! You can self-schedule a meeting with a career counselor by logging in to Handshake.

Lisa Torchiano
Senior Career Counselor / Pre-Law Advisor

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