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: https://wit.edu/coopsandcareers/cooperative-education/co-op-resources.

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 Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, 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: http://bit.ly/2tqjvb7
Top 5 Interview Tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GqTlDZ-WTw

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!

Mock Interview Day 2017

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Tuesday, November 7th from 3:00pm – 6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of four rounds of 45 minute interviews conducted by 57 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 128 students participated in 216 interviews, providing two practice interviews on average per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

If you are a student who attended Mock Interview Day last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? 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 with new openings and other news!

If you were unable to attend Mock Interview Day, be on the lookout for future opportunities to engage with employers and don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on November 7th to conduct practice interviews. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring!

Personal Branding

 By: Robbin Beauchamp

Personal Branding

When you think about your favorite company, what pops into your head?  What words come to mind when you hear “Amazon”?  “Fitbit”?  “Starbucks”? “Uber”?  What words do you associate with “Usher”?  “Kanye West”? “Eddie Redmayne”? “Emilia Clarke”?

Those words you automatically think are the brands that these companies and/or people have created.  It is not an accident that you think “Amazon – get me my stuff quick”.  Or “Uber – convenient” or “Kanye West – controversial”.  These are the stories that they want told.  What words do you want to describe you?  How do you build your personal brand?

What is Personal Branding?

“Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” (Source: Wikipedia).  You are defining the terms by which others view you from a digital and personal perspective. Your personal brand is the skills and causes you want people to remember you for, and how you wish to set yourself apart from your peers. 

Why do you want a personal brand?  You probably already have one and don’t realize it.  What were you known as in high school?  Class clown?  Jock?  Nerd? Mr./Ms. Popular? You get to own the direction of your future by controlling your own unique story while using authentic language.  A personal brand will help you identify how you can solve employers “problems” and will easily connect with mentors/desired employers while identifying the work you want to be doing.

How do you identify your personal brand?  Create a vision for what your future looks like by answering these questions:

• Who are you?
• How did you get here?
• What are you naturally good at?
• What do you enjoy doing?
• What makes you passionate about what you do?
• What do you want to be known for?

Once you have jotted down some answers (and they can be short and quick), start thinking about a “headline” for yourself.  Review profiles on LinkedIn to give yourself some ideas.  Here are some examples:

• Hack-a-thon Enthusiast and Aspiring Mechanical Engineer
• Computer Scientist focused on making the world a more connected place
• Photographer • Model Maker Emerging Product Designer
• Collaborator | Innovator | Strategist | Educator | Mentor
• Talent Acquisition | Recruitment Advertising | Career Advising
• Leadership and development specialist with an affinity for issues of diversity
• Collaborative Organization Leader

Notice that these are not job titles, but adjectives that describe who they are or what they can do for an organization.

Once you have decided what your personal brand may be, how do you market it?  Go to networking events or participate in workshops or webinars. Start participating in blogs by commenting on them (in a positive way, of course) or write your own. Use the language you define yourself with on your social media platforms:

• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn
• Instagram
• Snapchat
• YouTube

Be mindful of what you write.  If you are critical or disagree with someone, do it respectfully and use well-vetted research to prove your point.  Don’t just forward memes or other’s messages.  Be original and thoughtful.  Understand that nothing on the internet is private, even if you’ve set your settings that way.  Employers can be savvy and have resources to uncover your profiles and some may do this before even giving you a call.

Your personal brand will change as you grow in your profession.  You will gain skills and experiences that you will want to incorporate into your brand. Keep in mind what you want to be known for and think about who you admire and why.  What is the brand of people you follow?  What do you admire about them?  Are their pieces of their brand that you would like to incorporate now or in the future into your own brand?

Your personal brand makes it easier for employers to understand why they want to hire you and for people to want to follow you. Be authentic.  Know who you are and what you stand for to ensure you will have a fit into the organization who does recruit you.  Consider reading any of Brené Brown’s books or short YouTube videos featuring her talks. She writes about authenticity and vulnerability.  Once you understand who you are and what you what you want to be known for, your personal brand will be established.

The Fall 2017 CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our second annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 3rd from 2:30pm – 6:00pm in both Watson Auditorium and Tansey Gymnasium. This was the first time we held this event in two locations, with 214 employers in attendance. These employers ranged from small local construction firms to international high-tech organizations and everything in between. The buzz about campus surrounding the employers attending drew more than 850 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time positions, to The Fair.

If you are a student who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke The Fairs App is still available for reference.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? 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!

If you were unable to attend the Fair this fall don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities, including Mock Interview Day on November 7th, and our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on October 3rd for The Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: Bowdin Construction, Dacon, Bond Brothers, dck Worldwide, Electric Supply Center, Teradyne, Novo Construction, PROCON, Timberline Construction Company, and the Wentworth Alumni Association. Your support makes all the difference.
We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring.

CO-OP + CAREER Advisors and Academic Advisors – what’s the difference?

By: Abbey Pober

Throughout your time as a Wentworth student, you are likely to have questions about the classes you are taking and how to position yourself best for your future career. Your Academic Advisor and CO-OP + CAREER Advisor are here to assist in navigating the waters to a fulfilling and successful career. While your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor is here to support you in executing a successful co-op and full-time job search, your Academic Advisor is the person on campus who will support you in creating and executing your path to graduation and career success. These key differences separating the two campus resources are why it’s important you plan to meet with both of your advisors to make the most of your time on campus. When planning to meet with each, consider the following.

Academic Advisors are here to:
• Help you recognize the connection between your Wentworth education and your career goals.
• Provide you with the tools you need to successfully navigate Wentworth.
• Recommend courses for registration and can help link courses with career plans.
• Assist you with identifying your priorities, talents, passion, potential, and interests.
• Provide guidance and assist with planning if you are “off track” in your academic plan.
• Determine when you are eligible to go out on co-op based on your academic standing.

CO-OP + CAREER Advisors are here to:
• Meet with you before your first co-op search to review your resume and provide access to the campus job board, WITworks.
• Coach you through creating a resume and writing cover letters
• Teach Co-op Institute, a six-week course designed to prepare students to search for and secure a co-op.
• Provide guidance and support during your co-op and full-time job search.
• Assist you with preparation through in person appointments and mock interviews.

Both your Academic Advisor and CO-OP + CAREER Advisors are here to help you succeed and are eager to meet with you. It is strongly encouraged that you plan to meet with your Academic Advisor early in you Wentworth experience, and you can find more information about getting in touch with you academic advisor here. When you are ready to start you co-op search make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor, our team can’t wait to meet you!

To schedule an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor stop by our office, 101 Wentworth Hall, or call 617 989 4101.

The benefits of volunteering and extracurricular activities

By: Chawney Weis

“It’s not about what you know, it’s about WHO you know.” But how do you get to know the right people? And how do you convince them that you’re the right person for the job?

You could possibly meet a connection in your Uber-pool, a coffee shop on the T or at a family/friend gathering; but volunteer work is one of the quickest ways to meet people and prove your knowledge and work ethic. Whether you choose to volunteer through an unpaid summer internship (in high school or college) or you opt to volunteer your time a couple nights or evenings each month, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with people who can potentially help you out, or at least provide you a good reference, during your co-op and/or job search. Similarly, extracurricular activities including sports, clubs, networking groups, volunteer activities, travel, etc., allow you to network and meet people while demonstrating your strengths, skill set, and how you work with others on a team and in different environments.

While both volunteer work and extracurricular activities allow you to make connections and prove your abilities, you are also building your resume in doing so. Choosing to spend your free-time doing something purposeful implies that you have interests in something beyond your school work; you like to seek challenges and learn about a variety of fields and lines of work. Employers appreciate seeing that an applicant is involved in their community and well-rounded in the activities they choose to participate in. Employers regularly request to speak specifically with students in different clubs and organizations. They want to see leadership positions and skills on your resumes as well as campus and community involvement. The projects you work on and the interactions you have will help you develop transferable skills that you will use in the classroom and in any job/work setting.

So, when you attend the Involvement Fair on the front lawn on September 7, 2017, consider what you can learn and how being involved (both on and off campus) can help you land your next co-op or job after graduation. If you are spending your summer off at home, consider volunteering part-time or finding other activities you can be involved in. Remember that your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor can assist in pulling transferable skills from any of these experiences to boost your resume and present your qualifications in your cover letters.

 

Choosing An Employer

By: Jason Gregoricus

A corporate employer or start up? Which is the right fit?

Larger corporations typically offer stability, regular hours, better pay, clearly defined roles and well-established support. Start-ups, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible about work hours, often require their employees to wear multiple hats and usually demand more creativity as a result.

Which one fits best for you is an important question. Let’s look at each in kind.

Large Corporations: They’re large because they’ve figured out what works in the marketplace and have grown because of it. So, when a company grows it usually compartmentalizes the work of various departments with clearly defined roles within them. Therefore, when you’re hired, you’ll know what is expected of you and how to grow within the company. (Relatedly, there are usually robus benefit packages – health, retirement, etc. – as well.)

Additionally, larger corporations usually prefer to hire from within – it’s convenient and less expensive than taking the administrative time to recruit/interview/hire. In the end, it’s all about relationships. People hire other people they know and like. Therefore, if you work for a company and would like to try something new, the chances of advancement and change are greater.

However, there are downsides. First, large corporations are usually not nimble. Change moves slowly – if at all – and when it does happen the process can be maddeningly slow. In larger organizations there are usually many stakeholders for every decision and idea. Therefore, the time it takes to implement those changes/ideas is exponentially proportional to the number of people it will affect. So, if you’re an impatient person, then the corporate atmosphere may not be right.
Start Ups: Conversely, working for a start up does have its perks.

First, start-ups are typically very exciting places to work. They often have a dynamic workforce and a swashbuckling energy that makes every day go by quickly. As a result you may find yourself taking on several different (read “seemingly unrelated”) aspects of the business. It is not uncommon with a small start up for a recent hire to handle shipping, sales and market research all in one week. The benefit of such a situation is that it allows a person to explore what they’re good at, and what they enjoy less.

Concurrently, in a small organization it is much easier to shine as all your contributions are obvious to everyone. Therefore, a start up could help you gain confidence, self-knowledge and a strong reputation. Conversely, however, the challenges at a small start up can be numerous.

First, the benefits may not be all that great. Start ups may allow you flexible hours – but incredibly long ones as well. Also, with some exceptions, they are operating with razor thin margins. Therefore retirement packages, vacation times, health insurance options all may be less than ideal – or not on offer at all. This can be compounded by the fact that many start up don’t have anyone working in human resources. So your options for support become even that much more limited.

Second, if you make a big mistake at a company it can have huge repercussions. Everyone knowing you did great is, well, great – but the other side of the coin is the public recognition of mistakes. It never feels good when the majority of your coworkers all know when you’ve made one.

So, in the end, where you choose to work will be decided by where you feel the most comfortable. But keep this in mind! Everything is fixable. Everyone who has worked long enough in the world has a story about a bad job or workplace situation. Just because you don’t fit in, or a job is not what you wanted or thought going in, there will always be another chance on the horizon.

So keep your head up and soldier on! Big or small, comfortable or nimble. Over time you will learn what works for you and that will be the right thing