How to WORK the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Caitlin Brison

Image of a smiling leopard.
TFW you nail the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

An approach for everyone, whether you are low-key or EXTRA!

  • Find the list of employers attending on the “Fairs App” and research the ones that interest you.
  • Look to see if they have positions posted so you can find out more.
  • Create a spreadsheet, categorizing employers into A, B, and C lists.
  • Write down a few questions you might ask them at the fair. Refer to them before each conversation.
  • Write, review, and edit your resume.
  • Come to Drop-Ins to make sure it is ready for the Career Fair.•  Print out 10-20 copies and tuck them in a folder to hand out.
  • Make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor to go over your Resume.
  • Print 10-20 copies and carry them in a professional padfolio.• Make your own business cards.
  • The plan is to go, shake some hands, meet some employers, ask good questions, and hand out some resumes.  Go with it!
  • Locate the employer booths on the Fairs App ahead of time and map out your route.
  • Maybe talk to a couple employers on your C list to start before moving on to your first choices!
  • Gather your professional attire.
  • Visit WITwear to borrow any items you may still need!
  • Iron, steam, fresh haircut!  Look your best.
  • Also…visit WITwear to borrow any items you need!
  • Build a 30-second pitch and practice it in the mirror so you come across relaxed and professional.
  • Practice a firm handshake.
  • Record yourself and watch it back.  Be mindful of eye contact, fidgets, and filler (“um, like”).
  • Pitch with a friend and practice your handshakes!
  • Shake their hand and thank them for their time answering your questions and speaking to you.
  • Collect business cards so you can write thank you notes the next day.
  • If they requested your application electronically – pass it along or let them know you applied!

Check out ALL our helpful guides on resumes, networking, pitches, and more on our website:

Spring 2018 WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 10 AM – 8 PM, Fri 10 AM – 4 PM
Spring 2018 All Day Resume Drop-ins: Thurs 3/15 & Fri 3/16 10 AM – 4 PM
CO-OPS + CAREERS Office + Douglas D Schumann Library & Learning Commons
“What to Wear and How to Prepare” Exhibit: Library Red Gallery, March 12th – March 20th.

Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

Meet Zeily Perez, winner of this semester’s “Share Your Co-op” contest!

Conest image submited of Zeily Perez holding olympic torch in front of "EF Education First" banner. Twitter camption included reads "Hi I'm Zeily! I work as a computer analyst at EF. EFs goal is to provide life changing education for global citizens. Working at EF I've learned how to provide the best the computer support to people all over the world."
“EF Education First” sponsored the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, giving Zeily “Z” Perez a chance to hold the Olympic Torch while on co-op.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Zeily, but everyone knows me as Z. I am a 4th-year computer networking major en route to graduate in August 2018.

Where was your co-op? And what did you do you there? My co-op was at EF Education First in Cambridge MA, and I am currently working there part-time. I started my co-op in September 2017 as a member of the Technical Support Team. But as the months went by my manager decided to have my role changed to an Associate Desk Analyst.

What does EF do, and what is it like to work there? EF is an international travel agency, and our mission is to open the world through education. Working at EF has been fun and such an enjoyable learning experience. I get to interact with users from all over the world and help them with their computer/software needs. Since this is a travel agency that aims to transform dreams into international opportunities, there are many young souls that work here.EF is all about their open space and no cubical environment; this is what makes going to work fun! From the ping pong tables to many open areas, to North Point Park is our backyard to the restaurant/bar on the first floor there is always something to do if tired sitting in your pod.

While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of or working on, that has inspired you? There was a cool project where I worked with the San Jose, Panama office. They requested assistance for their computers that needed to be reimaged to our configurations and applications. As the time went on, my manager and I noticed that it was a bigger project than expected. Their office hasn’t been properly equipped with the new technology systems and their office was outdated with the latest configurations. This project helped me better my communication skills (emailing, phone calls, Skype calls, video conferences) and ability to be comfortable in failing and asking for help from higher-ups (most of them based in London) to reach my goal.

Based on your co-op experience, what industry/position do you see yourself in the future? I haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that I want to help people, travel and I need to work in a fun environment. I can no longer see myself working in cubical and sit at my desk for a whole day shift. The past two years I found myself traveling more and more and I want to be able to work outside the US. Maybe Spain?

What is a major takeaway from your co-op experience?  My major takeaway is that communication is key. I mean I learned that through RA training and leadership institute, but in the real-world it’s different. Being the middle-man between the user and our system admins’ has made me realized the communication is important for every situation. Having a close connection with our staff from around the world has made me more patient considering that we are in different time zones with other offices.

What made you enter the contest and why did you choose the photo entered? To test my luck hahah! I entered the contest because I am proud to work at EF and for those who know me I’m always traveling, and EF is all about that. EF was awarded the #1 Work Place to Work in Boston.

I choose the photo because EF has been sponsoring the Olympics for over 30 years, dating back to 1988 Summer Olympics. This year EF has been named Official Education Services Sponsor to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. This means that as the education services sponsor, EF created online video, classroom content for Korean teachers, students, and citizens. This year we had someone from the Boston Office to hold the Olympic Torch and represent EF. Holding that torch even just for the picture, was a symbol of all the hard work I have done both in and out of the classroom and help others reach their goals and always to believe that no dream is too big.

Anything you’d like to add? Yes! Shout out to Matt Gianelli and Lauren Tyger for always pushing me to become my better self and supporting me through my academic, personal and co-op life.


Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Z! Be on the lookout for our next “Share Your Co-op Photo” contest in the coming semesters.

The Pay Gap is Real – And What You Should Do About It

By: Lauren E. Creamer, Senior CO-OP + CAREER Advisor

By now you’ve heard about the “Gender Pay Gap” – it’s been all over the news these last few months. I don’t see it going away anytime soon, either. But just to catch everyone up, let’s define the gap. According to the American Association for University Women (AAUW), “the gender pay gap is the difference between what men and women are typically paid”. Research shows that this difference exists across all demographics, workplaces, and education levels.

Pay Gap Statistics

In 2016 women in the United States were paid 80% of what men made. In Massachusetts, we were right on par with the national average clocking in at 80-84%. If you break it down for Boston, specifically, women were making 87.1% of men’s earnings, and women made 94.1% in Somerville/Cambridge.

You might be thinking… the numbers aren’t so bad here! But look at it like this: The National Women’s Law Center estimated that a single woman in Massachusetts, in a 40-year career, would lose $416,720 when compared to a white man. That is too much money to leave on the table.

The Breakdown

If you take into account racial/ethnic groups, the numbers are even more alarming. Black women made 63 cents on the dollar, and Latina women made a staggering 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. Asian women made slightly more than the national average at 87%, but the gap is still there.

If you look at the data from the National Women’s Law Center again, native American women in Massachusetts would lose just shy of $1,000,000, black women over $1,000,000, and Latina women would lose more than 1.3 million. Women of color are also less likely to have access to things like paid sick and family leave and flexible work schedules, all of which compound the systemic economic hurdles they face.

Factors that Contribute to the Gap

In April of 2016, the Democratic staff of the congressional Joint Economic Committee published a report highlighting the gender pay gap and the ramifications it has on the American economy. They outlined eight separate factors that play into the gap:

  • Women are more likely than men to interrupt their careers to care for children
  • Working mothers often pay a “mommy penalty” (when compared to women who don’t have children)
  • Women are more likely than men to be primary caregivers of other family members (aside from children)
  • Women who are forced to work part-time earn less (to balance family demands)
  • Women often work in occupations that pay less
  • Women are underrepresented in positions of leadership
  • Some women still do not receive equal pay for equal work (when all other factors are considered)

The final factor is perhaps the most troubling:

“After taking into account differences in observable factors such as education, field of study, occupation and experience, multiple studies have estimated that there is an unaccounted for gap between women’s and men’s average earnings of 5 to 9 percent. In other words, as much as 40 percent of the overall gender pay gap cannot be explained by factors that would affect earnings and may be due to discrimination”.

So, what can we do? What can you do?

On a legislative level, you can reach out to your elected officials and demand their support for pay equity. On an individual level, you can arm yourself with a negotiation education. You must remember: it is in your power to tip the scales. Always, always negotiate.

Steps to Negotiate found that 84% of employers expect prospective employees to negotiate salary during the interview stage. Yet only 30% of women bother to negotiate at all, while 46% of men negotiate, according to Forbes. There are many reasons why people choose not to negotiate: fear of conflict, feeling “under-qualified”, simply not realizing there is extra money available, and feeling gratitude for “just getting in the door”, to name a few.

In 2015 the AAUW joined forces with the City of Boston to train and empower 85,000 women by 2021 to close the gender pay gap. Dozens of free salary negotiation workshops are available every year across the city. The core tenants of their program are: knowing your value, benchmarking salary and benefits, knowing your strategy, and PRACTICING! The unknown has the potential to be scary – but with practice, the unknown becomes familiar and easier to navigate. Just like you would do a mock interview to prepare for a real interview, practicing the negotiation conversation can be a phenomenal tactic for success.

And, when in doubt, visit your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor for guidance and coaching. We are always happy to help!

Want to learn more about pay equity and the gender pay gap? Check out these great resources:


Institute for Women’s Policy Research:

Pew Research Center:

Joint Economic Committee:—-us-congress-joint-economic-committee.pdf


“This American Workplace: Slang for International Students”

By: Ria Kalinowski

Let’s “Get the Ball Rolling” (i.e., Start Something)

Americans use a lot of slang. Slang is the use of phrases or terms, typically in an informal setting, that have come to stand for something else. It is most common to hear slang used in informal conversations as opposed to during more formal language such as presentations or interviews. You will almost never see slang in formal writing. If someone uses a slang phrase or term in conversation which you do not understand, you can often use the context to figure it out. In some cases, the slang phrase that is used may be loosely related to the slang meaning. The phrase, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”, means not to take on a task that is too large.

“Keep Your Eye on the Ball” (i.e., Remain Alert)

There are many American slang phrases and terms that are related to sports. If someone says to you, “don’t drop the ball”, they mean they don’t want you to make an error or miss an opportunity. This saying is derived from sports like baseball or American football where a player may be penalized for dropping the ball during the game. For example, if someone assigns you a project at work, they may say, “don’t drop the ball” and mean that they don’t want you to mess up the project.

Another sports-related slang phrase is, “behind the eight-ball”. This saying is from the game of pool and refers to someone being in a bad or difficult position. If a colleague gives a presentation at work and it doesn’t go well because they weren’t prepared or if someone misses a project deadline because they started working on the project too late, someone might say that they were, “behind the eight-ball”.

Here is a list of additional sports slang:

It’s Not Always “A Piece of Cake” (i.e., Easy)

Not all American slang phrases or terms are related to sports. If someone tells you to “hold your horses”, it means they want you to wait or calm down. This phrase comes from a time when horses were a major form of transportation and it literally meant to pull up on a horse you were riding or driving from a wagon to make the horse stop.

A “couch potato” is someone who sits on the couch all day watching television. It can be used to refer to people who are lazy.

Here is a list of additional slang:

Let’s “Cut to the Chase” (i.e., Get to the Point)

So, if you are in a situation where people around you are using slang, “don’t have a cow” (i.e., be worried). Use the situational or conversational context to figure out what they are saying. Or, you could ask! Most Americans will be happy to explain what they mean.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers and How to Find Them

There are some helpful lists out there of LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers. But what do you do if you are interested in working at a relatively new or small company that may not show up on those lists? Luckily there are actions you can take to assess just how friendly this company is to LGBTQ+ employees and they are all part of the regular job search: Do your research and ask questions.

When researching your targeted companies, be sure to look at how a company portrays themselves. Is there evidence that they value diversity and inclusion in the following?

  • Mission statement/overall profile
  • Top management: any minorities and women? Check out Hoovers the Resources for Co-ops section of our website.
  • Charities they support
  • Website and social media (for proof that the company values diversity in its employees, their customers and vendor partners)

Once you’ve researched the what the company says about itself, check outside sources. What is their recent history (are they walking the walk?) and how have they been rated?

The Company’s Employee Policies and Training can tell you a lot. Check for clues in their:

  •  Job postings, website or promotional materials – do they include statements about being an Equal Opportunity Employer?
  • Zero tolerance policies for discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the employee handbook?
  • Ask about training opportunities for employees and managers on diversity issues.

Do they have any LGBTQ+ Friendly Benefits?

  • Healthcare coverage for same sex spouses and domestic partners
  • Paid family leave (maternity, paternity, adoption) allowed for domestic partners as well as children of a domestic partners, regardless of biological or adoptive status
  • COBRA-equivalent benefits for domestic partners
  • Bereavement leave for death of a partner or their immediate family.

How about Employee Resource Groups?

Some companies have affinity or resources groups for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups provide opportunities to network and discuss challenges at work and strategies to overcome them. For the company, these groups help lower turnover and increase retention. Organizations may also have a diversity and inclusion office, diversity council or working group focused on employee diversity that includes LGBTQ diversity as part of its mission.

During the recruiting process however, emphasize qualifications

Focus on what makes you a well-qualified candidate for the position: skills, experience, education and abilities. An individual should never have to divulge their gender identity or sexual orientation. If a person decides to come out it should be on their own terms. Unfortunately, protections are not universal, and disclosure can open one up to discrimination. The best approach is to ask general questions re: benefits and diversity initiatives and compare that with your research.

Lastly, if you do get an offer from a company, but find that you are not comfortable working for them after all, it is okay to politely turn down an offer. And all that research was not for nothing, you know more about who you want to work for and who you don’t.

For more information, check our LGBTQ+ resources page for students:

Research strategies and questions provided by Fast Company: Six Steps for Finding LGBT-Friendly Companies

Event Recap: How to Work a Room

By: Abbey Pober & Kristen Eckman

Last night we hosted 38 students and 10 employer and alumni representatives from 6 companies at our first How to Work a Room event. Jean Papalia, Principle of A+ Etiquette and Director of Tufts Career Center, began the night with an interactive presentation on professionalism and networking “do’s and don’ts”.  Students, alumni, employers, and staff were prompted during the engaging presentation to implement the new strategies together before networking began.

In the second hour, attendees practiced their new skills while learning from each other in a realistic setting. The goal of the night was to increase competencies and confidence in networking situations including how to work a room, how to enter conversations, and how to gracefully exit conversations.

Students, if you made a meaningful connection with any of the employers who attended, here are some tips for what to do next:

  • Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. Find all of our resources here.
  • Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!

Thank you to the Massachusetts Building Congress 20|30 Club and Alumni Relations for partnering with us to make this event a success. We look forward to future events connecting Wentworth students with alumni and employers.

The spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair is our upcoming event, being held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 3:00pm – 6:00pm. A list of employers attending can be found on The Fairs App, check back often for updates to employer information and new employer registrations.

Meet the Staff: Ria Kalinowski, Co-op + Career Advisor

I started working in the CO-OPS + CAREERS department at Wentworth in June of 2016. Joining the team here at Wentworth was the culmination of many years working to land a permanent career development position at a small career-focused school. After graduating with my Masters in Counseling Psychology, I worked with young students on the autism spectrum while trying to figure out where I wanted to take my career. Through informational interviews, I discovered that career development was the perfect fit for my desire to help others become successful, my talent for analyzing problems and finding creative solutions, and my interest in technology. Leveraging the connections I had made through my informational interviews, I volunteered at several college-level career development offices in the area. Meanwhile, I gained additional experience in higher ed in both career development and admissions at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Working in a contract role in the Career Development department at Northeastern was the next step towards my goal. Along the way, I also joined the Career Counselors Consortium Northeast for additional networking opportunities and training.

Working with the CO-OPS + CAREERS team at Wentworth has been a dream come true. I enjoy working with Wentworth students as they really appreciate the support and knowledge that our office provides. I advise Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering, Computer Engineering Technology, and Interdisciplinary Engineering students. Gaining an understanding of these industries through employer interactions, site visits, engaging with faculty, and professional organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has been fascinating. My favorite site visit thus far has been learning all about underwater robotics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, MA.

Meetings: They Can Make or Break You

By: Robbin Beauchamp

As a student, you have probably attended many meetings, especially if you have participated in group projects.  When you are working at a co-op, there is a likely chance that you will participate in many meetings with staff, customers or both.  Knowing how to have a positive impact in a meeting will help your career as a student as well as a post-graduation professional.

GOALS – Meetings are supposed to accomplish a few things, specifically:

Share ideas, facts, figures, drawings

Brainstorm ways to solve a problem

Assign and/or complete tasks as part of a project or plan

Create a strategy and timeline for a project

Introduce new staff

Teach new skills or provide information to meeting participants

EXPECTATIONS – Meetings should have an agenda and be led by one or two people.  As a participant, you have specific duties that are usually never communicated explicitly.  They are:

Be punctual

Be prepared to participate.  Read the agenda before the meeting, if it has been made available.  Read any materials that will be discussed in the meeting

Turn off your cell phone and leave it face down on the table


W.A.I.T.  Ask yourself “Why Am I Talking”?  – There is usually a lot of discussion during a meeting and you may want to have your voice heard.  So WAIT!

Are you making meaningful contributions to the conversation?

Are you speaking to complain?  To brag?  If the answer is “yes” to either, then don’t speak at all.

Are you moving the conversation forward?

Is your comment applicable to most people at the meeting?

Think about what you are going to say before you say it.  What is your personal agenda?  Why are you sharing your thoughts?

Refrain from speaking if you are regurgitating something that was already said.  If you can provide further information to show the merit of a discussion point, do so.

Be clear.  Be concise.  Be strategic.  Don’t speak just for the sake of speaking.

Don’t mumble, speak clearly so everyone can hear you.

MOVING FORWARD – Determine if there are deliverables that you are responsible to produce before the next meeting.  If there are, be sure to share them with the participants before you next meet.

Following these suggestions will help you to become a valuable member of any team and will reduce the amount of time you and your peers spend at meetings.



Acing Your Phone Interview

By: Ria Kalinowski

So, you’ve been contacted for a phone interview. Congratulations! What do you do? What will it be like? How do you prepare? Keep reading to find out!

Purpose of Phone Interviews

The purpose of most phone interviews is for initial screening. Employers have chosen several candidates from the pile of applications they received and want to narrow down who will be invited for in-person interviews. They save time (both yours and theirs) by reaching out to you by phone. These conversations are typically short but can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Depending on the company, you could be speaking with a representative from human resources or the actual supervisor for the position. You may speak with one or more people.

Topics that could come up:

  • Tell me about yourself or Walk me through your resume.
  • What are you hoping for in terms of salary?
  • Describe your experience with ___________ (a skill they are looking for from the job description).
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Why are you leaving your current position (if you are currently employed)?

How to Prepare

Practice answering possible interview questions with a friend, in the mirror, or with your Co-op + Career Advisor. A list of commonly asked interview questions for both co-op and full-time positions as well as a guide to interviewing can be found on our resources webpage:

Conduct research about the company so you understand what they do and why you are interested in working with them. Be ready to answer the questions, “why do you want to work here?” or “what do you know about the company?”. Spend some time on their webpage as well as on their social media channels. Understanding what they care about and how they convey that will give you insight into the company culture.

It’s also a good idea to do some research about the person or people interviewing you if you have that information. A human resources representative will ask very different questions than the supervisor for the position.

At the end of the interview, there will be time for you to ask questions as well. Make sure to have a list of 10-12 questions to ask in case some of them get answered during the interview, however, you will only want to ask three to four questions so as not take up too much time. Do not ask questions that can be answered by a simple google search. Ask specific questions about the position, company, or projects you will be working on. A list of general questions to ask can be found on our interviewing handout.

How to Handle the Salary Question

Be prepared to deal with possible questions about your salary requirements. Use resources such as,, or the salary feature that is part of a job search on LinkedIn to determine a suitable range for the position, your experience, and the geographical region. Check to see if a salary range is mentioned in the job description. Questions about salary during a phone interview are usually just to make sure you and the employer are on a similar page. If asked, avoid stating a specific figure. Instead, ask if there is a salary range for the position. Then you can say, “I’m sure we can negotiate a mutually agreeable salary within that range once I am offered a position.” If pressed, give a range based on your research.

During the Interview

Have a copy of your resume in front of you as well as the job description. Make sure you are in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted and you won’t lose cell phone service. Without visual and body language cues, phone interviews rely heavily on the content of your answers, and your ability to project enthusiasm and interest in your voice. Smile (even though they can’t see you) and make listening noises to show you are engaged. Stay focused and listen to what they are saying. It may be helpful to have a pen and paper available to take notes. Take a breath between questions and your answers in order to compose your thoughts.

Don’t Forget To…

Thank everyone you spoke with at the end of the interview and make sure you have their email addresses. You will need to send a personalized thank you email to each person you spoke with. Ask about the timeline for the hiring process, what the next steps will be, or when you can expect to hear back from them. This helps you decide how long to wait before following up if you do not hear back within the timeframe they give you. Be confident! They have asked to speak with you because they think you would be a good fit for the position. Tell them why they are right.

Additional Resources

Follow-up Thank You Email Handout:
Top 5 Interview Tips:

How to Write Learning Goals for Co-op and Why

By: Sara Dell

So, you landed a co-op!  Congratulations!  Now to make it count you need to do a few last things by the deadline, before heading off to your first day of the co-op job.

  1. Register for the co-op course (so the co-op will be on your transcript, and count towards graduation) and
  2. Report the co-op on WITworks (e.g. under My Account>Co-op>Report Co-op Hire or ADD NEW).

The second is to write three learning goals about what you hope to learn while on co-op. This is where most students get stuck.  To avoid that quicksand . . . here is some information on how to write these goals, why you want to, and how to do it well.

Each learning goal should answer the following questions:

On this co-op . . .

  • What do I want to learn?
  • What will I do to achieve my learning goal?
  • How will I demonstrate what I have learned?

Still not sure where to start? Try using the SMART format. SMART is an acronym you can use as a guide to]] creating your goals.  It stands for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based)
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)

For more information, including an expanded definition of each of the words above and examples, check out this article.

Now you know how to write these goals, but why would you want to?  There are more than a few good reasons . . .

Writing these goals will help you focus on what you want to achieve and how you will go about doing it.  At the end of the co-op you are going to add this experience to your resume, writing learning goals will help to ensure you have some great accomplishments to add, which in turn will help you land your next co-op or full-time job after graduation.

Since you are writing these goals as part of your Report Co-op Hire, your co-op supervisor will also review and approve of them, which means . . . they are aware of your goals and can better support you to achieve them.

Lastly, to pass the co-op course and have it count towards one of your graduation requirements, you will need to complete a student self-evaluation in the last few weeks of your co-op.  This is where these goals could come back to haunt you if they are not well-written or well thought out.  Spend some time up front on your goals, so when you are on the job, the evaluation will be easy.

Caveat: Sometimes you can have the most well written goals, but due to changes in the business, you may get pulled onto a different project, and end up learning something different.  Don’t panic.  You still learned something, and you can write about what you learned instead. And, if you still have that goal on your bucket list, keep it in mind as something you are looking to do in your next co-op or full-time job.

Lastly, reflecting on your co-op, what you hoped to learn and what you actually learned, will help you think about your own career what you want to do next (and sometimes what you definitely don’t want to do ever again).  These are all valuable things to know.  Now onwards to write those learning goals!