Internships are key

In an increasingly competitive job market, how will you be noticed? What is going to set you apart from the rest of the crowd and make you a person of interest?
First impressions matter, and for graduates applying for jobs, the first impression is based on your resume and cover letter.
Daire Gibney, senior recruiter at The Vermont Country Store, has hired 15,000 new employees over the last 10 years. He estimates he has seen over 45,000 resumes over the same time frame.
“One of the biggest problems I see in resumes is overinflating. It’s better to be honest,” he said.
According to Gibney, tailoring a resume and cover letter to a specific position can be what distinguishes people who get a call from those who don’t.
“Small personal touches make you stand out. Instead of, ‘dear hiring manager,’ do a little digging and use names,” he said. “One size does not fit all when it comes to a resume.”
Gerri Harrison, who does college recruiting for Green Mountain Power, agrees.
“Everybody likes to see you’ve done your research. It shows you actually put time and thought into it,” Harrison said.
The inclusion of an internship experience in a resume was a major topic of conversation among employers and students at Thursday’s Castleton Career Fair.
Roxanne Vought, program manager of the Vermont Intern Program, said internships carry a multitude of benefits for students.
“They provide the opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge to the real world,” she said.
Internships also allow you to build your skillset, build your professional network and “try out” a company to see what it’s like, she added.
Hollie Nop is a student and human resources intern with a concentration in training and development-recruitment at The Vermont Country Store.
“Having an internship has made me more attractive to potential employers because I now have experience in projects that are relevant to employers’ current situations,” she said. “I can hit the ground running with a new employer, rather than the company having to teach me about the field from the beginning.”
Officials at the career fair said it is never too soon to begin developing a resume as a student. A solid resume, cover letter, and internship experience can make a world of difference for those looking to move into professional careers after the days at Castleton have come to an end.

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