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 Zoom. You can make an appointment by visiting this link.
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.
- 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:
- View our Resume Writing Guide
- View sample resumes on our Resume Roadmap
- 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, virtual, 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:
- View our Resume Writing Guide
- View our Cover Letter Roadmap
- 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, virtual, 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, Student Services Coordinator – 207-621-3130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Interview is an online system that combines training AND practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence.
You have at your disposal a variety of tools including:
- Challenging, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and dozens of industries
- A database of thousands of interview questions with tips on how to answer them
- The ability to rate and share your interview answers for feedback
- A comprehensive video training curriculum covering all aspects of landing a job
- A step-by-step interview Answer Builder for crafting answers to behavioral questions
To log in, please click on the Big Interview Icon on your UMA Portal Launchpad.
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
- ZipRecruiter for College Students
- ZipRecruiter (general job site)
- 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
- ZipRecruiter Salaries By Major
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.
What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is typically a one-on-one conversation with someone who works for a company or industry that you’re interested in. It’s a chance for you to seek out employment leads, while also finding out whether the job/field will be the right fit for you.
When scheduling informational interviews, start with the folks who are already in your network: this could be friends, family members, present/former coworkers, fellow UMA students, faculty, or even your neighbors. These people each have a network of their own that they may be able to refer you to. In addition, there are lots of resources to identify good connections who aren’t in your personal network yet. Check out professional associations in the field you’re interested in, LinkedIn groups and profiles, organization directories, and even company websites. Once you’ve identified someone to have an informational interview with, contact them by phone or by email to set up an appointment.
Whether you’ve scheduled a formal informational interview, or you’re simply talking to a potential employer at a career fair, it’s important to put your best foot forward when you’re networking in person. Maintain a professional attitude and demeanor, dress appropriately for the situation, and plan ahead!
Here’s a list of sample questions you can consider asking when you’re in a networking situation:
Questions for Career Exploration and Industry Research:
- What does a typical career path look like in this field/organization?
- This industry has changed a lot over the last few years, what’s your experience been like?
- What could I expect from an entry-level position, in terms of salary, title, etc.?
- Why do people join or leave this field/industry?
- What would be my earning potential if I entered this field?
- Which abilities and values are important in this field? How about personality traits?
- Are there other fields or jobs you would suggest I look at before making a decision?
- What do you see as upcoming trends in this field?
Questions About a Specific Job or Company:
- How would you describe your work environment? How about the other people here?
- What are some of the challenges of working here?
- Could you describe a typical workday for me?
- What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
- What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
- What are the advancement prospects here?
- What might training look like for this position?
- What separates a really strong candidate from the competition for this job? Is there anything I should emphasize in my application materials?
- What do you see as the main values of your company? How does this company compare to others in the field/industry?
- While researching your company, I read that…. Can you tell me more about this?
Questions About the Other Person:
- What do you like most/least about your job? About your field?
- Would you change anything about your career path, if you could start all over?
- Which jobs and experiences have you found most helpful in preparing for your current position?
- How did you decide to pursue your current career?
- What was your undergraduate major? How did it help prepare you for your career?
- If you made a career change, what other fields would you consider?
Questions for Next Steps:
- What can I be doing prior to my UMA graduation to prepare for a career in this field?
- Are there any classes that you think I should take before entering this field?
- Is there anyone you would recommend I talk to next? When I call them, may I mention that you referred me?
- Can we stay connected for future conversations/opportunities (e.g. on LinkedIn, via email)?
- Are there any sources you would recommend for more information (specific books, trade publications, professional journals)?
Keep in mind that not all of these questions will be appropriate for every situation. Which questions you ask will depend on what type of information you’re seeking, where you are in the exploration process, how well you know the other person, and how much time you have scheduled to meet with them. Don’t try to cram all of these into one conversation!
After the informational interview, don’t forget to follow-up and thank them for their time.
You won’t always have an entire interview to introduce yourself and ask questions. Sometimes, you’ll be meeting an employer very briefly (such as at a career fair or other networking event), and you’ll need to be able to summarize yourself and your goals very quickly. This is sometimes referred to as an “elevator pitch,” since you should be able to ‘pitch’ your ideas in the time it would take to share an elevator ride with someone. You can think of it like a brief commercial for yourself as a worker.
In addition to telling someone a little bit about you, your elevator pitch should also convey what you’re hoping to get from that person, whether it’s a job, more information, or just the ability to stay in touch with them. Know what you’re trying to achieve, and know your target audience.
Check out this worksheet to get you started on developing your own elevator pitch.
Here are a few samples so you can see what we mean:
“Hello, my name is Jane, and I’m a student at UMA. I’m working toward a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, and I’m interested in joining your tech support team! My education taught me the computer skills, customer service skills, and employability skills necessary for supporting technology integration at [Company Name]. Some of my strengths are my dependability, attention to detail, and positive attitude. I want to make a difference at [Company Name] by making the use of technology a positive experience from start to finish.”
“Hi, my name is John, and I’m in my final semester at UMA studying Mental Health and Human Services. I’ve worked as an intern at several clinical practices, including [prior company names]. My skills in problem solving, communication, and advocacy have been strengthened through these experiences. I’m excited about entering the field of mental health full-time, and would love to hear more about [Company Name] and what you look for when hiring [Job title]!”
Once you’ve got a basic idea of what your pitch will look like, it’s time to think about delivery. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Smile and show enthusiasm. If your elevator pitch isn’t exciting to you, it certainly won’t be exciting to the other person!
- Be flexible- you may need to tweak your pitch depending on the context. For example, if you’ve already met the person before, don’t start your pitch with “Hello, my name is ___.”
- Practice, practice, practice! You can deliver your elevator pitch to friends and family to get feedback from them, and even recording yourself on your webcam or cell phone can give you a sense of where you might improve.
Now that you’ve perfected your elevator pitch, you’ll find that it can serve you well in lots of situations, not just in-person networking: for example, you could use it to highlight your background and key abilities in a cover letter, or to answer interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”
The Basics: Building Your Profile
LinkedIn publishes some fantastic guides to help get you started. Here is one student guide designed specifically for university students who are looking to build a strong profile on LinkedIn. One important thing to keep in mind is that LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook: your content, including the photo that you choose, should be designed with a professional audience in mind.
Once you’ve got your profile up and running, here’s a quick checklist to see if there are any major components that you could add to make it even stronger.
Finally, this website, also hosted by LinkedIn, offers additional resources and tutorials for university students who are looking to get the most out of their LinkedIn experience.
The Basics: Building Your Network
So, you’ve made your LinkedIn profile- now what? It’s time to start building your LinkedIn network! There are several ways to find people that you want to connect with via LinkedIn:
- The first option is to use the search bar at the top of the page to find users by name. Start with your friends, relatives, and coworkers to begin building your network. Be sure to view their profile and make sure you’ve found the right person before you add them!
- You can also add connections under the “My Network” tab of the website. This will provide the option to connect with your email contacts, add suggested people based on algorithms and mutual connections, or invite your contacts who aren’t on LinkedIn yet to join the site. The “My Network” tab is also where you can view invitations that others have sent you.
- When you’re adding people, try to send personalized invitations whenever possible. LinkedIn will provide a generic invitation text, but we recommend mixing it up to make your connection more personal.
When someone sends you a request, you also have a few different options:
- Accept or decline, if you’re sure that you do or do not want that person in your network. They will only notified if you accept their request.
- Reply to their request: this is a good option if you want to ask how/if you know them, or if you have other questions for them before you want to add them.
- Report their request: this is a good option if you think you’ve received a spam request.
We don’t recommend linking with strangers, unless you can be introduced through a mutual connection, or you have a good reason for contacting them (e.g. you recognize them from one of your UMA classes, even though you haven’t yet been formally introduced).
Ready, set, network!
The modern job search extends beyond just the interview and the resume. It’s becoming increasingly common for employers to Google-search candidates and view their social media profiles before making a decision. In addition, there are countless recent stories of employees being terminated from their current employment due to inappropriate conduct on social media platforms.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Search yourself. This will let you see what others see when they Google-search your name, so you can make sure you’re happy with the content they might find. Opening Google in an incognito or InPrivate browsing window will allow you to see yourself from a stranger’s point of view.
- Double check your privacy settings. The default settings are not always the most private, so you may have to manually adjust them to keep complete strangers from viewing your content.
- Review your profiles. Do a quick scan of what you’ve already posted, and make sure you’d be comfortable with an employer seeing it.
- When in doubt, leave it out! If you’re not sure whether something is appropriate for social media, it’s better to stay on the safe side, and share it with friends directly rather than publicly.
Here’s a link to some free guides published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. These will help you make the most out of your social media presence! Each guide covers three topics for that specific social media platform: creating a profile, networking, and finding jobs or internships.
Finally, it’s important to remember that most social media etiquette (sometimes referred to as “netiquette”) extends to email accounts, as well. Communicating professionally via email is an important part of the job search process.
Before you send your email, make sure that you’re sending it from a professional email address (i.e. not “firstname.lastname@example.org”). We recommend using your official university email address, or creating a professional email address with some variation on your first and last name.
Each email you send should as part of your job search should also include a clear and succinct subject line, a formal greeting, and a thank you at the end.
Common Email Mistakes:
- Using the wrong pronouns or gender identity. Don’t assume that your recipient is male or female unless you’re absolutely certain. Many names can be androgynous, meaning that any gender may use them. When in doubt, leave it out, and send a gender-neutral message!
- Using all caps. Sending a message on the Internet in full caps is considered to be equivalent to “shouting” at someone in-person. We recommend using bold or italics when you need to emphasize part of your message.
- Sending an email in the heat of the moment. The Internet is forever! If you’re angry or upset, take some time to cool down before sending or responding to an email.
- Following up too soon. Make sure that you’ve given your recipient a reasonable amount of time to respond to your message before you send another follow-up. Following up too quickly can come across as aggressive, since it’s hard to interpret tone via email.
Conversely, checking your email infrequently is a common mistake. In the past, time sensitive content was usually handled via phone calls, but it’s becoming increasingly common to use email as a primary mode of communication. Make sure to sign in frequently so that you can respond promptly to time-sensitive emails.