Senior Series: Job Search Strategies

Last week, we reviewed resources from the Career Center to help you adjust to these ever-changing times. This week, we will share tangible job search strategies that can help you find opportunities post-graduation.

Remember to set aside time later today or later this week to re-visit the information and action steps outlined in this newsletter – it’s pretty densely packed. You can expect to spend a few hours each week working on your job search, and going through these newsletters in careful detail is a great way to organize that time. In case you missed it, you can also view last week’s newsletter in our archive.

Many graduating seniors are feeling the pressure to find a full-time job that relates to their career aspirations while many organizations are having to change their own hiring timelines. The pandemic has forced everyone to adjust their plans to plan for a future which is difficult to predict. Because the future is unpredictable, we encourage job searchers to focus on an “experience” search rather than a “career” search. 

Under any circumstances, it’s rare to find a “dream job” as your first job out of college. This is the first step in your career journey, and it’s an opportunity to build your network, develop your skills, and reflect on what you want out of your long-term career. As you progress in the world of work, you’ll be able to speak to what you learned and how you grew during this difficult time. And remember: everyone else is going through this unprecedented moment in time, too.

As a reminder, you can still book career counseling appointments – we’ve got availability for our virtual appointments. You can self-schedule via Handshake.   Topics & Dates 

Networking in the Job Search

Networking can be one of the most valuable uses of time in a job 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 seniors embarking on a job search, 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 job 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.

A few UVM Alumni Association regional board members have offered their support: Ian Davis ’10, G’16, Director of Finance, Vermont Department of Economic Development; Laura Fionda ’04, Trademark Attorney, U.S. Patent & Trade Office in Washington DC; and Sarah Madey ’09, Senior Brand Manager – Global Marketing at Hasbro, Inc. in Boston. Connect with them and many others on UVM Connect.   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


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 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

Finding Opportunities

There are so many different ways to find different job opportunities online. Here are a few tips to consider as you start your job search from home. 

Company Websites

Almost all businesses will have a section of their website that includes their current openings. If you have had your eye on a specific company for years, their website could be a great place to start searching for jobs. One important consideration is that it might be hard to know the current standing of job posting on a business’s website due to the pandemic. Thankfully, Candor, a salary negotiation company, has developed a live tool that provides an update on the hiring statuses of over 5,300 companies. If you have a specific company in mind, Candor’s live tool is a great place to see if they are still hiring. 


With the amount of uncertainty in the job market due to the repercussions of the pandemic, it is probably a better bet to cast a wider net during your job search than to narrow in on specific companies. It’s hard to think about putting some of your career aspirations on hold, but it might be wiser to play the long game and consider what’s going to provide you with a source of income and comparable experience for now instead only focusing on your #1 choice. 

A great way to broaden your search is through job search databases such as Handshake, LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor. Each of these platforms post thousands of jobs daily, instantaneously broadening the scope of your job search. Many of these jobs will even allow you to use your updated profile as a means of applying. 

To be honest, there are a ton of these databases online. We chose to stick to a small selection, however, because spending a lot of time crafting a strong profile on a few of these sites can increase your chancing of finding a job more than spending hours scrolling through lists of jobs on a wide range of sites. Recruiters use all of these sites to search for talent and Indeed even has staff who essentially serve as match makers, trying to pair candidates and employers alike. 

We recommend developing strong profiles on each of these platforms in order to raise your chances of being contacted by recruiters. If you are using Handshake or LinkedIn for the first time, check our Blackboard modules to learn how to set up your profiles and navigate the basic functions of the websites. You can use what you have learned from these modules to update your profiles on Indeed and Glassdoor as well. The more of your skills and experiences you incorporate on these profiles, the more these databases will work. Each employs the use of algorithms that suggest opportunities related to your skills and interests. A strong profile will make it easier for recruiters to find you as well.  
That being said – depending on your specific industry interests, you may want to check out an industry-specific database too. Each of our Interest Groups highlight commonly used job platforms on their “Industry-Specific Resource” pages.

Final Thoughts

As you ramp up your job search in the next few weeks here are a few things to take into consideration: 

Location: Remote – Many companies that are still hiring are updating their positions so that they can function remotely. Try searching for remote positions specifically to see what you can find – either as a keyword or a position type, depending on the platform you are using.

Position Timing – Many companies have not updated their postings since the pandemic started. Keep this in mind as you look through openings and try to avoid applying to jobs that were posted in mid-March. The more recent, the better. 

Temporary vs. Permanent – Keep in mind that the current situation is not normal and this will not be a normal search. Some of the positions you are finding might not be your ideal position but it might be the best fit for experience and livelihood at the moment. 

Watch Out for Scammers – Unfortunately there will always be someone looking to take advantage of a tough situation and this pandemic is no different. Do your research before you apply to companies you are unfamiliar with and never give out your SSN or banking information on an application. Visit our website for more information about fraudulent job postings.  

Track your Applications – It can be helpful to track your applications, especially when you’re applying to multiple positions each week. This can be a simple table that includes the job title, employer name, contact information, application submission date or due date, and relevant notes from the job description or about the organization. That way, you have a better idea of which employers to follow up with about applications – and have some context about the job if you get an interview. 

Practice Self-Care – During any job search, it’s important to take time off and unplug when you need it. This is especially important when you are juggling so many other transitions. Over the past several weeks, you have had to manage rather dramatic changes in your home, academic, and social life. For tips on self-care, connect with our friends over in Living Well – they’re offering lots of great virtual programming and their Instagram feed features a range of advice on caring for yourself and your community during these difficult times. You want to bring your best self to the job search, so taking time to pause and reflect on what you need is important, too.

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