Networking on LinkedIn

Hi! My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student here at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources!

Recently, for my internship class, I had to create a LinkedIn profile for networking, and I had no idea how to make connections. There are so many employers, professionals, and students! For my second post, I thought I would share what it’s like networking on LinkedIn for the first time since I know it can seem quite intimidating.

First, I logged into my LinkedIn account to find alumni from UMass Lowell. I’ve found it can be easier to make connections if the person and I have something in common like an alma mater. I went to the UMass Lowell LinkedIn page and I searched for technical writers from the Greater Boston area in the alumni search bar. The process was very easy. I kept my filters to a minimum because I wanted to find as many alumni as possible!

My search worked and I found lots of technical writers! Yay! They all worked in a variety of industries like medical, robotics, software, finance, and automotive. I sent them a request to connect, there is a request button on LinkedIn, and I also wrote a short introductory note about myself. I introduced myself, said I was a current English major at UMass Lowell who was interested in technical writing, and then I specified what aspects of their experience inspired me to connect with them. Being specific and personal seemed important because it not only feels more genuine, it also creates a goal for each interaction. Adding a note when sending a connection request is also important because potential connections do not know who I am, they would just think I’m a random stranger.

Overall, this process was a bit nerve-wracking. It was new and I felt like I did not know what to do in the beginning, but I’m glad I did it. Two of the alumni accepted my requests, which is less than I hoped for, but networking is a process and it’s getting a lot easier for me now. I’ll keep networking and building connections!

Being Recruited in a Virtual Environment

by Jaden Scott-Ryan

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything has gone virtual, including job recruiting. Recruiting is different in this climate and students will want to know how to prepare for virtual interviews, how to present oneself and to keep a positive mindset.

Approaching virtual interviews

One way you can succeed at virtual interviewing is approaching virtual interviews like in-person ones, according to Amanda Christians, Northeast Campus Recruiter at Fresenius, a healthcare company that specializes in kidney care.

“Treat the interview like it’s an in-person interview. Treat it professionally. Professional attire. Test out [the] technology. And ensure you are in [a] quiet environment with good Wi-Fi,” Christians says. Christians has plenty of experience interviewing college graduates. She is team leader for three other recruiters and is responsible for hiring new nurses.

How you present yourself, including on your resume, is also important, according to Christians, since the virtual recruitment process is different from meeting in person. Currently at Fresenius, job candidates are not allowed in clinics since dialysis patients are some of the most high-risk patients. As a result, virtual interviews are one of the only times recruiters get to meet job applicants. Christians said all nursing candidates should send in a resume, even if the application website does not call for one, because any previous experience is important. Since most nurses have not had full-time healthcare jobs before, mentioning clinical experience can be very helpful. However, you should list any previous experience, regardless of whether it is related to nursing, because these experiences can tell the employer more about you and Fresenius is especially looking for a good fit.

Another way to prepare for virtual interviewing is to make sure you have a strong Internet connection, great lighting and a simple background, according to Amy Branson, North East University Talent Lead at Fidelity Investments. She also encourages engaging body language and giving the interviewer your full attention with a positive attitude.

Keep your options open

In addition, do not limit yourself to one position because there are likely more where you can thrive, advises Branson, who develops and maintains strategic relationships with colleges and universities in the New England market.

“[We] hire for everything. Different functional areas,” she says. “Fidelity hires at both the intern and full-time level, [about] 2000+ university students across the country. There are many entry points into the organization.”

Be proactive and engaging

Being proactive and engaging is also key in the virtual environment, says Greg Denon, UMass Lowell’s Associate Dean for Career Development and head of the Career and Co-op Center. According to Denon, students have been having mixed reactions to the new virtual recruiting environment and are less willing to participate. This lack of enthusiasm may have to with students feeling anxious about approaching recruiters virtually. Despite this anxiety, it’s important when interacting with recruiters to be aware of how you sound. “Students should pay attention to tone of voice to convey energy,” Denon says.

He also advises keeping up your energy for virtual recruiting during the pandemic. He says to make sure you take breaks, use technology in ways that it can be productive without it being non-stop and set boundaries with your work.

While virtual recruiting may be very different from in-person recruiting, there are so many ways you can adapt and make the most of the opportunities around you. Putting yourself out there is the first step. With a positive mindset, you may find your dream opportunity!

Click on the following links to check out careers at Fidelity and Fresenius:



What Can I Do With This Major?

Hello. My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student here at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources.

As I get further along in my college career, I’m starting to wonder what post-grad life will be like. One of the biggest questions on my mind is: what can I do with my major? It can be a daunting thought for sure, but I guess it’s better to consider my options before graduation sneaks up on me. For my third blog post, I decided to write about a Career and Co-op Center resource called What Can I Do with This Major? It shows potential career paths you could take based on your major. Picking a career, and even a major, isn’t an easy choice so I wanted to share a resource that could help with that!

First, I went to the Career and Co-op Center webpage, then to the section for undergraduate students, and clicked on the Exploring Majors and Careers link since the website is linked on that page. Getting to it was very easy.

Once I was on the actual website, it got even easier. One of the tabs at the top of the page gives the option to view all majors and I was able to find English under the Language, Cultures, and Humanities category. I was also able to find English and journalism listed under the Communications category as well.

For English, there were tons of different career options since it tends to be a broad major. A few areas English majors could go into were writing/editing, technical communication, publishing, education, advertising, public relations, law and business. I was glad to see that technical communication was on the list since it was a path I was considering. However, the law option surprised me because I always thought only political science or criminology majors went into law.

Each area also listed job responsibilities, types of employers, and strategies to gain skills for that type of job. For example, as possible job responsibilities, technical communication listed technical writing and editing, science and medical writing, grant and proposal writing, software and hardware documentation, information technology writing, human-computer interface design, corporate communication and training, and mechanical communication.

Overall, this website was super helpful. The career information was extremely straightforward and easy to understand. Now I know exactly what my career options are with an English degree!

My first experience at a career fair

Hello and welcome! My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student here at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources.

On November 12, I did something I was afraid of. I attended the Career and Co-op Center’s virtual Public Service Career Fair and met with recruiters individually to discuss technical writing opportunities. Usually, I’m not the type of person to go up to people and introduce myself first so networking can feel unnatural for me. Yet attending career fairs and talking to recruiters has been a big help. I decided to write about my experience at the career fair because it can be hard to know what to expect if you haven’t been to one before, especially with the virtual component.

A few days before the fair, I registered for it on Handshake. It’s super easy and only takes a few seconds. That said, it’s important to not register last minute because you can only sign up for group or individual meetings with recruiters after registering! Individual meeting spots get filled quickly.

The first session I signed up for was an individual session with the Massachusetts Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General. It focuses on state cash flow and debt, so I thought it might include grant or proposal writing. I asked if any of their work included technical writing and the recruiter had lots of suggestions. She said I might be a good fit for an executive office internship. She also mentioned I might do well in the communications department in the economic empowerment section. This section creates programs and projects for the public to encourage new clients to set up investment accounts, such as a 529 college fund. Another department the recruiter suggested for me was the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission since they often use written reports in their work.

Next, I met with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Unfortunately, the recruiter I spoke with said the organization didn’t have any internship or entry-level work that included technical writing. He said that only higher-level analyst positions included technical writing work. Entry-level positions focused on auditing or customer service. This was a little disappointing, but I wasn’t surprised since the IRS is a more math-based kind of organization.

Even though the IRS didn’t work out, I’m glad I went to the career fair. It gave me a chance to get used to meeting with recruiters and I feel like I can introduce myself first now! Despite how intimidating recruiters may seem, they’re very friendly. I’m also happy that I got the chance to learn about different companies so I can determine what kinds of organizations are an option for me.

Exploring Options with FOCUS2

My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources.

I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet after college and I decided to explore FOCUS2. It’s a career assessment program you can use to learn about different career paths and find ones that fit your personality. As an intern, there are still so many career paths I could take. I want to know more about different careers before I decide on a job.

Within FOCUS2 I decided to take the “Work Interest” assessment. It asked me a lot of questions about my interest in certain activities and to rank my interest based on a five-star scale. One star means no interest and five means strong interest. The test itself is quite short. Honestly, some of the questions can feel unusual to answer if you have no experience doing that activity. For example, one of the questions asked me, “To what degree would you enjoy working in a national park to preserve its forests, wildlife, and natural features?” I have no experience doing any environmental work and it wasn’t a job I ever considered before so I had to really imagine what those responsibilities would be like.

After I finished the questionnaire, it told me my top work interest areas. There are five areas in total: enterprising, conventional, artistic, investigative, social, and realistic. My top three areas were enterprising, conventional, and artistic. “Conventional” work is predictable, detailed, and organized. I was surprised that conventional ranked higher than artistic because I am in a creative major, but I guess it has to do with my preference for orderly, systematic work.

I also got matched with different careers. When I clicked on a job title, it showed me a more detailed description of what that job entailed. I really liked reading the descriptions because they gave me an idea of the day to day responsibilities. Three career areas that came up for me were Management, Sales & Related, and Arts, Entertainment, Sports, & Media. I was not surprised that artistic jobs were mentioned because of my English major, but I was more surprised at how many of the jobs in management and sales related to arts and entertainment. One of my top careers was “Administrative Service Manager.” Even though most of this job was about managing company operations, staff, and products, it also included writing professional documents and letters. I was very surprised about this because I did not realize how much writing impacts the daily operations of a business.