ISS staff profile: Mary Vance, career counselor

One of the many benefits of being a student at Portland State is having access to professional development and career resources designed to help students advance in sustainability fields. Students have the opportunity to receive personalized advice from career counselor Mary Vance. She regularly hosts workshops, and this month, she's guiding students through résumé development and LinkedIn profile optimization. Register to attend the session on January 17. Spaces are limited.

In a recent conversation with Mary, she shared some career insights for students.

What do you like most about being a sustainability-focused career counselor?

I love working with students who are idealists and tirelessly hard-working. It inspires me, gives me hope for the future, and is hugely fun and engaging work.

What is one basic modification students should apply to their résumé?

Customizing! It can be time consuming but definitely pays off with a stronger document. Also, remember to include academic experience like coursework, projects, and research papers.

What feedback do you usually get from employers about applications from students?

Employers (like students) are busy people—they want to get the information they're looking for quickly, concisely and in an easy to read format. That's why it's so important to customize the résumé to the position and make sure the most important information can be found toward the top of the page.

How can students demonstrate their commitment to sustainability?

Volunteering, taking a course, selecting a sustainability related topic in a class, joining a student or community group, learn a related skill (Excel for analyzing and tracking data, for example). A profession is built one experience at a time—just get started!

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