I first realized that I wanted to work at the Center for Career Development during my freshman year at UConn. I was a member of Law Society at the time, and the President of the organization was a strong, independent woman who I admired. It just so happened that she was also employed as a Career Intern.
She often encouraged us to take advantage of the Center’s resources, offering to look over our professional documents, such as résumés and cover letters, and pointing us towards valuable webinars and guidebooks. I, to no surprise, subsequently began to schedule appointments of my own, inspired to get an early start on my professional profile and make use of the tremendous wealth of resources that the Center provided.
The more I explored these resources, from résumé critiques to LinkedIn webinars and interview preparation guidebooks, the more excited I became. It became quite clear that this line of work really appealed to me. After fully exhausting the resources from the Center’s website and editing my existing résumé to a tee, I began helping the girls on my floor with their own résumés, and soon enough, people were referring me out to friends.
Of course, I was not a professional and I had no formal training, so at some point I began considering the next step. I needed a job, and I had begun to realize that being a Career Intern could be a perfect fit. When a position opened in Handshake, I knew instantly that I wanted to apply!
The application process was surprisingly simple: I remember using the Résumé and Cover Letter Guidebook from the Center for Career Development’s website to tailor my résumé to the position as best I could. I then used Handshake to upload the résumé, along with my written responses to a series of questions that were also required. The entire process took a few days, as I wanted to take my time and make sure that I was submitting a strong application.
What followed was a sequence of virtual interviews which I prepared for using the Interview Preparation Guidebook from the Center’s website, creating a list of potential questions, and considering which of my experiences I could speak to in various scenarios. That preparation came in handy and gave me the necessary confidence to engage well in my interviews.
Since being offered a position as a Career Intern, I’ve been fortunate to have been welcomed into not only a dynamic and inclusive work environment, but also into a family. My supervisor created valuable opportunities for the team to build relationships before we had even begun working, with get-togethers over the summer and friendship-building exercises throughout the training process. As a result, I was able to begin my first day on the job with strong friendships and a reliable support network.
All of the Career Interns have a specific project area specialty for which they apply during the interview process: mine is Practice Interviews. Therefore, when I joined the Career Intern family, I was fortunate enough to simultaneously join the Practice Interview family as well. Having gained effectively what became a family within a family has been instrumental to my personal growth within this role, but also to my mental health and wellbeing as I’ve navigated the obstacles associated with the ongoing pandemic.
After undergoing formal training and working at the Center for several months, I now have more confidence in my understanding of a wide spectrum of career-related modalities, from various approaches to professional networking, to a number of interviewing processes. My job allows me to be constantly aware of what resources the University offers students and enables me to better support my friends and family as they prepare their own résumés, cover letters, and other application materials.
Since beginning my job as a Career Intern, I’ve relied on these resources and applied the experience I gain through daily résumé and practice interview appointments to effectively apply to various opportunities in my own professional life, from competitive awards to paid positions.
The Center for Career Development has also provided me with many opportunities for additional professional development, such as interactive webinars, technical skill training, and presentation opportunities, which I have been able to capitalize on to improve my current skillsets and become a stronger candidate as I pursue my own career goals.
Looking back, the only thing I regret is not having applied sooner!