The Career Connections staff is ready to assist UMA students and alumni with their job search efforts. Finding success on the job search largely depends on the effort that is put into it. It involves developing your resume and cover letter, researching what jobs are available, reaching out to your network for job leads, applying for jobs, and making your presence known on social media outlets (LinkedIn, etc.).
Staff are available in person, over the phone, e-mail, or through Skype/Google Hangout. You can make an appointment by either calling 207-621-3130, or e-mailing email@example.com.
Research Target Employers
- Most job openings aren’t advertised; instead, they’re posted on the organization’s website, or are found through one’s network. Identify promising employers by checking the UMA CareerLink employer directory, connecting with your contacts, and completing research on the employer by visiting websites such as LinkedIn. Then, go to those employers’ websites to browse job openings.
Attend Career and Job Fairs
- Career and job fairs offer the opportunity to connect with multiple employers in one day. UMA does not have currently have career fairs in place, however, we encourage students to attend career fairs sponsored by other organizations. To view other college career fairs in Maine, please visit this link.
- Use UMA CareerLink to discover jobs and internships listed exclusively for UMA students and alumni. Also, employers visit our campuses from time to time to set up tables and to network with student and alumni.
Explore Third Party Recruiters and Placement Agencies
- Third party recruiters and agencies can help you find work in virtually any industry or career field on either a full-time or contract basis.
A resume is your ticket to a job interview. Think of it as an advertisement of yourself on paper. There are many ways to develop a resume, but it is a matter of finding what works best for you and follows these suggestions:
- Keep your resume to 1 page, if possible (two, at the very most)
- Be consistent in your formatting (spacing, font size and style)
- Make it simple to read and visually appealing
- Use active language (show that you’ve been developing skills and abilities)
- Present information to the employer in the order of the most important to least important.
- Proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD! (Have other people review it as well)
To create a draft resume:
- Visit our Resume Writing Guide
- Use UMA CareerLink’s Resume Builder and submit your resume for a review (account required)
- Attend a resume writing workshop to put the finishing touches on it
- Meet with a Career Connections staff member for a resume review (in-person, phone, e-mail)
Cover letters are equally important tools in the job search process. The cover letter is a letter of application which accompanies or “covers” your resume to a prospective employer. It is designed to convince an employer that your skills and background make you worth interviewing. it highlights your skills and what you bring to a particular organization. It should convey enthusiasm for the opportunity, and demonstrate your knowledge of the employer’s goals and needs.
Most cover letters are 3-5 paragraphs long and follow a simple formula:
- First Paragraph. Clearly state your purpose for writing. What position are you applying for? How did you hear about it? Why are you interested in this position? This organization?
- Middle Paragraphs. Show the specific fit between your education and experience and the position you are applying for. You may refer to your resume but do not simply restate the information on the resume. Use the cover letter to add additional examples or details. If you are responding to a posted position, be sure to specifically address the qualifications mentioned in the posting.
- Closing Paragraph. Request an opportunity to discuss the position and your qualifications in an interview. Offer to provide additional information such as transcripts or references. Express thanks for being considered.
- Enclosures. If you have supportive documents that you believe will work to your advantage, you may wish to enclose them. If the organization specifically requested information such as references or transcripts, be sure to include these materials or explain when and how you will be providing this information.
Here are some hints when developing your letter:
- Use a business letter format.
- Address the letter to a specific person. You may have to do some research on your part or make a phone call to the employer, but it will be worth it. Also, make sure to list the person’s job title as well. If a name is not available, address the letter to the appropriate title such as hiring manager or search committee.
- Tailor your letter to the job requirements and the employer’s goals.
- Show enthusiasm in your letter to compel your reader to read your resume.
- Always send an original cover letter with your resume. Never send a photocopied or handwritten letter.
- Keep your cover letter to one page, maximum, on good quality paper, and free of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
To create a draft cover letter:
- Visit our Resume Writing Guide
- Use UMA CareerLink’s Resume Builder to create a cover letter to submit for review (account required)
- Attend a resume writing workshop to put the finishing touches on it
- Meet with a Career Connections staff member for a cover letter review (in-person, phone, e-mail)
Interviews are the culmination of the hard work you have put into your job search process. Careful research, preparation and effective communication will help you put your best foot forward in an interview. Why should you prepare for a job interview, you may ask? Employers are impressed by candidates who have researched them, their organization, analyzed the job description and show energy and enthusiasm for the job. Interviewing, like any skill, is something you can improve on with practice. UMA Career Connections offers a variety of resources to help you practice and prepare for your next interview.
Preparing for an interview ahead of time will only help you in articulating what your goals are and how you are the best candidate for the job in which you are applying.
- The first step is to identify your interests, skills and career goals. Having a good handle on these three areas will help you be more comfortable in the interview, and will make it easier to communicate with the employer about why they should hire you. You should be able to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, educational background and work experiences, as well as your goals and values.
- Research the employer. This is your opportunity to learn about the company’s services, or products, the number of employees, the financial situation, competitors, problems, the management style and employee benefits. You also need to scope out specific employers to determine if they are the kind of organization where you would like to be employed. Search for news articles or other publications about the organization. Use Google News, LexisNexis, Hoovers, Glassdoor, Wetfeet, and Business Week, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter. Of course, if anyone in your network works at the organization, you’ll want to speak to them to get first-hand information.
- Research the job. You’ll want to know as much as you can about the job you’re interviewing for as you can, in order to understand and connect your skills, abilities, interests and career goals. It is also important to have a good idea of a salary range for the position in case it comes up in an interview, but also so that you may be able to negotiate when you have an offer. You can find salary ranges on O*NET, or Salary.com, among other sites.
- Practice typical interview questions. By formulating your answers ahead of time, you will likely feel more confident in your answers, and will be more likely to impress the interviewer(s). Be sure to practice different types of questions (behavioral/scenario questions, etc.)
- Have a list of questions to ask the employer. This is to show that you have done your homework on the employer and the position in which you are interviewing. It is important to ask questions that are not easily answered on the employer website or other reading materials. You should have at least five questions to prepared. Here are some examples:
- What are some of the qualities that will make the person in this position successful?
- Can you describe a typical day or week for the person in this position?
- What will the biggest challenges be for the person in this job?
- Could you tell me about the people with whom I will be working directly?
- What are the challenges currently facing the department/organization?
- How will the person in this position be evaluated?
- What are the opportunities for professional development?
- What are the next steps in this process?
- When may I expect to hear from you regarding my candidacy?
Typically, there are two types of interview questions. Common interview questions are those that you can almost guarantee will be asked in an interview, and they are designed to find out more about you, and how you would fit in with the position and the organization.
Common Interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Where do you see yourself after graduation?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Can you describe one or two of your most important accomplishments?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should I hire you?
- What do you hope to gain from this position?
- List three things your former supervisor/co-workers would say about you.
The other type of interview questions are behavioral interview questions. These questions are designed to find out how you’ve behaved in the past, and to give employers a sense of how you might do in the future.
Behavioral Interview Questions:
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
- Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
- Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
It is important to have some “stories” prepared to show the employer the skills and abilities they are looking for in the right candidate. To organize your answers, it is recommended to use the SAR approach (Situation, Action, Result).
- Situation (what was the issue?)
- Action (what action did you take?)
- Result (what was the end result?)
Interview Success Tips
- Be on time. Arriving 10-15 minutes early will allow you to get settled and to get to your interviewing space.
- Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, both at the beginning of the interview and again at the end.
- Dress appropriately. If you arrive dressed too casually or too formally, the situation can be uncomfortable for both you and the person interviewing you.
- Introduce yourself to the receptionist and to everyone you meet in the interview (they will likely be part of the interview process!).
- Shake hands with everyone, using a firm—but not forceful—grip, and make strong eye contact.
- Sit when you are asked to sit, not before.
- Place your loose items on the floor next to your seat, in your lap, or on the side table, coffee table, or in front of you at a conference table; do not put them on the interviewer’s desk unless it is offered to you. Your briefcase or bag should be kept at your feet, not on a chair or table.
- Keep all of your mobile and other electronic devices turned completely off. A phone set to vibrate will interrupt the meeting.
- Keep a positive and friendly attitude (Interviewers want to like you, and to hire you!)
- The best way to become more comfortable in an interview setting is to practice, practice and practice more! For many people, talking about themselves, their skills and abilities can be challenging.
- If you anticipate worries with the interview process, it may be wise to schedule a mock interview with a Career Connections staff member. We will interview you, record the interview, and critique it with you. This experience will allow you to “see how you interview,” as well as determine your strengths and weaknesses in the interview and help you practice for the “real” interview.
To schedule a mock interview, please contact Haley Brown, Coordinator of Career Connections – 207-621-3130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 6 W’s of Obtaining Reference Letters for Prospective Employers
The opportunity to assess your job performance and personal achievement through the evaluation of others is very important to employers. Many employers will prefer a reference list of individuals who may be contacted on your behalf. Some employers, especially in sectors such as education and social services, will want written references. Some employers may ask for both. Employers may prefer references at different stages of the hiring process; however, most will require verbal and/or written recommendations at some time before a hiring decision is made.
The number of references required and preferred type of reference will vary from employer to employer. Generally, individuals who can speak to your ability to perform the skills required for the position are preferred. Employers, supervisors or faculty who have evaluated your work in an employment, classroom or volunteer experience are best. Often a combination of classroom and non-academic references provides the fullest picture. Character references from family, friends, politicians and personal health care providers are generally not solicited.
Your references will be able to write the most effective letter shortly after you have completed the experience. Some employers may have created reference forms which are considered to be a part of the application form. Your references will appreciate it if you can bring all of your reference requests in at one time. Keep your references informed regarding your search status.
Help your references to prepare your recommendation. Arrange to meet with them to discuss your goals and the purpose of the recommendation. Ask directly whether or not they believe they could provide a supportive recommendation. Provide information such as copies of your resume, transcript and course materials or work projects.
Some employers may have stated specific instructions on how to apply and what to include. Be sure to follow these instructions or receive specific permission if you need to make alternate arrangements. If the employer has not asked for references prior to an interview, be prepared to supply them at this time.
Some employers prefer recommendations which are confidential (meaning you have waived your right to see it) because they feel that the confidential letter may be more candid than the non-confidential letter. You may wish to discuss this with your recommenders. Some undergraduate institutions will act as a neutral holding center for letters of recommendation. UMA does not offer this service.
Reference Letter Content Suggestions
Employers have indicated a preference for the following information:
- How long and under what circumstances have you known the applicant?
- What are the chief attributes and deficiencies of the applicant as a potential employee of the organization?
- How does the applicant interact with peers, co-workers, campus personnel?
- To what extent is the applicant working to full potential?
- How does the applicant compare with other students/employees?
- How does the candidate handle feedback/criticism?
- How strongly motivated is the applicant toward the position?
Skills and characteristics employers are interested in include:
- quality of work
- consistency of performance
- social skills
- communication skills – written
- communication skills – oral
- problem solving ability
- computer literacy
- management skills
Many employers prefer a list of references rather than reference letters. Format your reference list to look compatible with your resume. For each reference include: Name, title, organization, address and day time phone number. If references are asked for up front, include this list with your initial application materials; otherwise, carry them with you to an interview.
UMA CareerLink is UMA’s online job/internship database, and career exploration system.
Here is what is available to you in the system:
- Apply online to hundreds of jobs and internships.
- Use the Resume Builder to get started on resumes and cover letters.
- Have a Career Connections Staff Member review your resume and cover letter electronically
- Take the Career Finder assessment to integrate your interests into a potential career
- Gather career information to make informed decisions about future career plans
- And much more!
Current Students: Please click on the blue cube in your UMA Portal Launchpad. If your account comes up with an error/disabled message, please contact Haley Brown at email@example.com.
Alumni: Please click on this link to visit the login/registration page. This is also the link you will need to log into your account in the future.
For Students, Alumni and Faculty:
The UMA CareerLink database is provided by the Career Connections program at the University of Maine at Augusta. Users are responsible for reviewing the opportunities on a case-by-case basis and should use caution and common sense before applying for any opportunity. For example, no employer or prospective employer should require an applicant or employee to spend that person’s own funds for any business reason or to deposit checks into personal bank accounts and then make withdrawals. Employment, internship and volunteer application processes are the sole responsibility of the student. Employment is not guaranteed, implied, or warranted in any way by the University of Maine at Augusta or the employing organizations.
Job Search Sites
- Jobs in Maine
- MaineJobs.com (MaineToday)
- Simply Hired
- LinkedIn (must have an account to view)
- Career Rookie
- US Government Jobs (USAJobs)
- GoGovernment (Applying for Federal Jobs)
- Idealist.org (Nonprofit Careers)
- Maine Association of Non-Profits (Nonprofit Careers in Maine)
- ProjectLogin (IT Careers in Maine
- University of Maine System Job Opportunities
Occupational Trends/Employer & Salary Information
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Maine Department of Labor – Center for Workforce Research and Information
- Glassdoor (Employee reviews of top companies, salary info and more!)
- Job Search Intelligence
- LinkedIn Salary
Job Search Advice
Career/Job Fairs in Maine
DISCLAIMER: The University of Maine at Augusta offers this site as a convenience to the University community. The University does not recommend or endorse any of the job opportunities or employers listed. The University has made no independent investigation of, and makes no representations, guarantees, or warranties regarding the safety, wages, working conditions, or other aspects of employment, including but not limited to, the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. It is the sole responsibility of the student or other users of this site to research and check out the integrity of the organization(s) to which they are applying. The University is not responsible for any liability or damage arising from the use of information on this site.