I’m ready to interview!

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!

Recently, I finally figured how to get through job interviews without tripping over my words. I attended a virtual Career Corner workshop hosted by the Career and Co-op Center, and they gave advice on how to answer tricky job interview questions. Interviews of any sort have always intimidated me. Job interviews can be very stressful, especially during a pandemic, so I wanted to share tips about how to answer common interview questions.

To get to the workshop, I had to find the Zoom link on Handshake. The workshop Zoom link was in the event description. I didn’t have to register, I just had to remember to be on time!

During the workshop, the host explained the three types of interview questions: traditional, situational, behavioral, and, when the role calls for it, technical (for example, in computer science.) Traditional questions focus on the candidate’s background and experience. Situational questions determine how applicants would handle a hypothetical situation in the future. Behavioral questions show how a candidate handled a specific real situation in the past. Technical questions are only applicable for certain job positions, but they determine how a candidate would solve a specific technical problem.

The workshop host said students should not deny their weaknesses, frame a weakness as a strength, or reveal a weakness that raises a red flag in an interview. I was surprised when the host said this because I had thought the opposite: that I should frame weaknesses in a positive light. Instead, the host suggested that students use the PARK method when talking about a weakness or problem. P stands for problem, A stands for action, R stands for result, and K stands for knowledge. Students should state their weakness or problem, explain what they did to improve the situation, tell about the results of their action, and say what knowledge they gained from the experience.

This workshop was super helpful for me, and I learned lots of tips I never knew before. I used to feel stressed out by interviews, and I always scrambled to find answers on the spot. Now, I feel more prepared since I know what kinds of questions I will be asked and how to answer them!

From the Career & Co-op Center: Career Corner workshops will resume the first week of spring semester. Visit our website and/or view Candid Career videos for tips on a variety of career development topics. Individual assistance is available between the Fall 2020 and Spring semesters by appointment — schedule a career advising appointment.

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!