Senior Job Search

For many students graduating in May this is a stressful time of year. The comfort and security of college life will soon come to an end leading to a new point in life where they will have to start making ends. Those who do not yet have a job waiting for them after graduation may be feeling the most stressed, compounded by the fact that creditors will be expecting payment on student loans three months after graduation.

This situation does not have to be grim; it will just take a little work if you are not in the position where you have job offers. A good place to start is at the UVM Career Fair Tuesday, March 8 from 2-6 pm at The University Conference Center at The Sheraton in Burlington. At the fair there will be over 60 employers representing local and state companies, as well as national and multination. Employers are looking for skilled students in fields from marketing and finance, engineering and sciences, to education and development.

By far the best way for students to be looked at highly by employers is to find away to stand out from the crowd. People must sell themselves to employers without selling out, it’s a fine line but it is always good to say what you mean and not just what they want to hear. For those who cannot make the Career Fair or for those reading this article after the fair takes place, don’t worry, UVM still has many resources available. UVM Career Services is a great way to start. Now it must be said that they will not find you a job, you’re still going to have to do that yourself, but they do present a number of options and resources that you can use to your benefit.

Career Services gives students a good outline of how to go about finding a job that will both satisfy your monetary and personal needs. The outline may seem common sense but keeping the points in mind will help out a lot. One of the most important things to do when looking for a job is to develop a strategy. The most obvious step for this, but one that many graduating seniors have yet to figure out, is to have a specific field and profession in mind, without this any job search will be in vain.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do it is time to start networking and investigating.

Try to make a contact with someone in your field of interest, many times your contact may not be direct, talk to professors, advisors, friends and family to see if they know anyone in your field of choice that they can put you in touch with. Career Services has a great tool for networking, it is the UVM Career Connection which is a database of over 1,400 alumni who have volunteered to talk to students and alumni about their given fields. You can search the database by location and career field.

Just remember not to start out your correspondence with the contacts you make by asking them for a job. It’s best to simply introduce yourself and ask them questions about their field, i.e. what the best way is to go about finding a job in the given field?

The contacts made through networking often do not lead to job openings so this leads to the investigation process. If you have specific employers in mind a good place to start is to look for job openings on their website. Career Services has an in depth and up-to-date library and database of employers in many fields. Other internet directories can also be of service, these include: craiglist.org, monster.com, and careerbuilder.com.

Once you have a list of potential employers it is always helpful to research the intricacies of the company. This includes details of their annual sales and production, what there most recent marketing campaigns of been, and the general role the employer fills in the economy at large.

Once you have a specific employer in mind it is sometimes helpful to make a contact within the company, who is in the department you are considering and who is also in the position to make hiring decisions. These contacts are often available online. Making contacts prior to applications is a good way to introduce yourself and if done well can set yourself apart.

One of the last and maybe the most important stage of the job search are the resume and cover letter. Both should be personalized for the given employer you are sending them to, although the resume will be more standardized from employer to employer.

In the resume you want to list the most applicable education and experience to the job you are applying for. Make sure to give those the most emphasis, but do not be afraid to show that you are well rounded.

The cover letter is where you will best be able to set yourself apart from the crowd, so do not type out your resume in essay form, it will not be memorable thus being easily over looked. In your cover letter you want to show your potential employer lots of personality and charisma, but try not to go over the top. In most cases the resume and cover letter will be an employers first impression of you so they should be flawless, proof read many times.

Once you have developed a strategy and have written a resume it is always a good idea to make an appointment with an advisor at Career Services. They are the best resource for refining a resume and cover letter. As stated earlier Career Services will not find you job but will help you with the process if are willing to take initiative.