Make the most of your winter break by job shadowing

C with bubbles of people in networks

Job shadowing is a great way to get an inside look at an organization, and gives you the chance to connect with a UVM alum who can show you around. The UVM Job Shadowing Program has over 90 different job shadowing sites are available in a variety of different fields and locations, and now is the time to apply for a shadowing match. You could get a behind-the-scenes experience with a:

  • Senior Account Executive at Twitter in New York City
  • Program Services Director at the Department of Corrections in Williston, Vermont
  • Director of Science Programs at the Ecological Society of America in Washington DC
  • Regional Farm-to-School Lead at the US Department of Agriculture in Boston, MA

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Savvy Seniors: What’s Networking Got To Do With It? A Career Journey

FM with a colleague

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.

The takeaway?

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.

Good luck!

~FM Munoz
Marketing Coordinator
Vermont Creamery
http://www.vermontcreamery.com/

Savvy Seniors: Be a Stand Out Applicant & Land the Job

PMG logo

The inside scoop from a local public relations firm

What is an employer looking for?

Here’s what you should know about applying for a position: we are looking for professionalism and creativity above all when sifting through the many resumes.  Please do not try to be cute or funny, stick to the basics and tell us what you could bring to our office.

What do employers notice in an applicant?

Do your research, look at our website, read our blogs: you will gain tremendous insight into who we are and what we do.  Then take that research and apply it to your cover letter.  I look for cover letters that demonstrate an understanding of the business in a clear, concise way.

The most common mistakes I see in cover letters include grammatical errors and misspellings.  Always have a trusted person edit it with you.  You might think it sounds fine, but it never hurts to have another set of eyes look over your work. (This practice continues even in the working world; all of our work goes through several rounds of revisions, no matter what our title may be.)

How and when should I follow up?

Don’t panic if we don’t respond to your email the first day.  We read every application and cover letter closely, but we also have our everyday jobs to tend to.  However, if it has been more than a week, it is fine to send a quick follow up note just reiterating your interest.  Tell us something different about yourself or your interest in our company, rather than just saying “Did you get my application?”  Be creative, professional and persistent.  The application process is a lot like pitching to the media, it might take two or three follow ups to finally get that big hit.

~Beth Parent, Account Supervisor
PMG

People Making Good (PMG) PR specializes exclusively in publicity and media relations.

Learn more at this great workshop with special guest Logic Supply:
Stand out in the Application Process Tuesday, February 18, 12-1pm at the Hub!


Savvy Seniors: Start "Relationship Building" Today!

Alyson Welch at Machu Pichu

Alumnae Alyson Welch shares her networking experience and advice

What role has networking played in your career exploration and job search?

Networking has played a huge role in my professional development.  Four years ago, I moved to Madrid, Spain and had no idea what I was going to do.  After a few months, I found a job and two internships through networking—through a friend of my mother-in-law, a college contact and a previous internship supervisor.

When we moved back to Vermont almost three years ago, I was concerned about finding a job. I started identifying companies of interest and looking for contacts at these companies.  In three months, I met with four people from Tetra Tech ARD, all referred to me through various contacts (a former UVM professor, a college friend of my husband’s and a friend of a friend that I met at a birthday party.)  When a position opened up at Tetra Tech ARD, I eagerly applied and used the knowledge I had acquired through networking to help write my cover letter and prepare for the interview.

Networking can be a bit intimidating.  What has helped you network effectively?

People are much more willing to share information and provide advice than to give you a job. If you are just looking for information, it’s easier to ask people to chat.

I’m kind of shy, so it’s a little intimidating to me to reach out to people that I don’t know. I’ve tried to challenge myself and send emails or call people, thinking that it’s always worth a shot.  I actually don’t like the word “networking” as it sounds sort of insincere.  I prefer to think of it as meeting people and building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Keeping this in mind makes networking – or relationship-building – more organic and, to me, rewarding.  People were very good to me during my job search and I’ve tried to do the same now that I have a job.

What advice might you give to a senior who isn’t sure how to begin their network?

Keep your request to meet short and simple. Be prepared and have a list of questions ready. Ask people to suggest other contacts. Remember to thank the person. Keep track of who you have met and follow up from time to time.  Try to keep your network alive.  Invite the people you have met to connect on LinkedIn

Also, use LinkedIn to identify UVM alums in your field and reach out to them. Check with professors, co-workers and family/friends to see if they might recommend professional contacts. Think about who is already in your network – maybe your aunt knows someone.  Never doubt the importance of any connection—even if someone is not in your field, you never know who they might know.

The most important thing to do is just start networking.  Once you start, you’ll gain momentum and it can even become fun.  Moreover, I am confident that networking is the best way to ultimately find a job – especially one that you’ll like.

Alyson Welch
Project Manager at Tetra Tech ARD

Want to learn more about networking? Join us for:
Seniors Lunch and Learn: Networking Made Easy!
Wed. Nov 13, 12 pm, the Hub

Savvy Seniors: Interviewing

Sailboats on Lake Champlain

Jen Guimaraes
Associate Director
Community Sailing Center

When a student lands an interview, what should they do to prepare?
Students should make sure to do their “homework” on the organization that they are interviewing with. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the entire organization by researching their website and any other information that you can gather about them. Create a list of questions you have about the organization and the position you are applying for. Employers always ask for your questions at the end of the interview process and having a list shows that you did background research and are very interested in the position. Make sure to dress appropriately, show up on time, and be professional in your communication (word choice and email style) with the prospective employer.

You must interview a lot of applicants for the Community Sailing Center, what makes a candidate stand out?
A candidate stands out if they are energetic, upbeat, and already familiar with the organization. Make eye contact with the employer(s) you are interviewing with and give complete answers to their questions, not just one-word responses. You can almost certainly anticipate what questions an employer might ask you based on the position you are applying for, rehearsing your answers ahead of time is always a good idea. Don’t forget to smile!

What questions should candidates be asking you?

I’ve had candidates ask a number of questions: Do I enjoy my job? What is a typical day like for this position? What is the chain of command with direct and indirect supervisors? Are there any additional duties that I will have not included in the job description?

Learn more about opportunities, classes, rentals and more at the Community Sailing Center!

Don’t miss this workshop to learn more! Savvy Seniors: Interviewing Wed., April 10th 4:15pm, L&L E166