Co-op Action Guide

By: Kristen Eckman

Wentworth offers one of the most comprehensive cooperative education (co-op) programs of its kind in the nation. A co-op is full-time, temporary employment in your field of study that enables you to apply classroom learning to professional work experience. Unlike most schools, co-op at Wentworth is a requirement: all undergraduate day students must successfully complete two co-op semesters in order to graduate.

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To prepare for your co-op semester, we suggest that you follow the Co-op Action Guide detailed below:

4-5 Months Before Co-op

  • Familiarize yourself with the Co-ops + Careers resources
  • Prepare a draft of your resume
  • Submit Co-op Terms & Conditions on WITworks
  • Meet with your Co-op + Career Advisor for WITworks access
  • International Students: talk with International Student Services about CPT requirements
  • Attend Co-op Institute to learn how to:
    • Create and edit your resume & cover letters
    • Develop an elevator pitch
    • Create/update your LinkedIn profile
    • Conduct informational interviews
  • Begin to create a Portfolio of completed work/projects
  • Join professional and student organizations
  • Identify companies with early application deadlines

3-4 Months Before

  • Meet with your Co-op + Career Advisor to finalize your application materials
  • Upload your resume to WITworks
  • Set up email alerts on WITworks and other job boards for positions of interest
  • Begin applying for co-ops, customizing your application to each opportunity
  • Schedule a mock interview with your Co-op + Career Advisor
  • Create list of references
  • Register for your co-op semester on Leopardweb
  • Make sure your interview attire fits, and is clean and pressed or visit WITwear to borrow items as needed

1-2 Months Before

  • Continue applying and interviewing
  • Meet with your Co-op + Career Advisor if you are not getting interviews
  • Send thank you notes to each employer 24 hours after an interview
  • Review co-op offers
  • Accept a co-op offer and notify any other employers you’ve interviewed with to withdraw your candidacy
  • Once you accept a co-op offer you MUST stop applying and interviewing
  • Report your hire on WITworks
  • International Students: Complete all CPT paperwork, get it signed by your Co-op + Career Advisor, and submit it to ISS
  • Thank your references and let them know you accepted a co-op

During your Co-op

  • Create work plan with your supervisor that outlines your responsibilities and addresses your learning goals
  • Meet regularly with your supervisor about your progress
  • Network with people across the organization and conduct informational interviews
  • Create a portfolio of accomplishments, including deliverables, skills acquired or honed, and any recognition you received making sure to receive permission from your employer to share any company information
  • At the end of your co-op, ask for a LinkedIn recommendation
  • Complete your self-evaluation to receive a passing grade
  • Ensure your employer evaluation is completed to receive a passing grade

Whether you are preparing for a co-op search or a job search, the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development has the resources you need to be successful. If you haven’t met with a Co-op + Career Advisor yet, give us a call at 617-989-4101 to schedule an appointment and we’ll get you started on the right track.

How to Utilize the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development

By: Janel Juba

At the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development, we deliver the necessary resources to be effective in the workplace, provide essential job search strategies and teach students how to find co-ops/ jobs that align with their classroom knowledge, skills and interests. Our mission is to EQUIP you with the necessary tools to EVOLVE your skills and ultimately EXCEL in your industry.

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We offer a range of programs, tools, and services for:

  • Current students seeking cooperative education (co-op) experiences
  • Graduating students and alumni seeking career guidance and exploration
  • Tips on how to effectively navigate Online Career and Job Search Resources

Students/Alumni may utilize the Center to review their resume and cover letter, develop/enhance networking skills, prepare for interviews, find co-ops and jobs in WITworks (our online job database) and other sites, connect with employers at our career fairs and other on-campus events.

We also run Co-op Institute, a seven-week series of workshops which prepares students for their first co-op experience. Below you will find a list of resources and events our office provides.

Co-op + Career Resources 

  • WITworks Job Board
  • Co-op + Career Guides on WITworks
  • Co-op Institute
  • Your Dedicated Co-op + Career Advisor
  • Drop-In Hours
  • WITwear
  • Co-ops + Careers Blog
  • Co-ops + Careers YouTube channel
  • Co-ops + Careers on Twitter

Co-op + Career Events 

  • Co-op + Career Fairs (Fall & Spring Semester)
  • On-Campus Recruiting
  • Mock Interview Day (Fall Semester)
  • Wentworth on the Road
  • Employer Information Sessions
  • Employer in Residence
  • On-Campus Networking Events

Please feel free to stop by should you have any questions or even to say hello, our doors are always open!

A Guide to Personal Branding

By: Hadley Hopkins

Hi there! I’m Hadley Hopkins the marketing intern here at CO-OPS + CAREER. As an advertising student, I am very concerned with branding. Not only of the brands I work for but also my own personal brand. Below I am going to walk you through the steps of how to brand yourself by using my own professional life as a model, so you can learn a little about me and a lot about creating your own personal brand.

You may be thinking, ‘what is a personal brand and why do I need one?’ A personal brand is a combination of your skills and experiences that make you who you are. So technically, you already have one, but by shaping it into a clear message you will be more confident in your strengths and potential employers will easily be able to see who you are and what you stand for.

Find Your Strengths

The first step to creating your brand is to evaluate your strengths. I did this by making a list of my best qualities including character traits as well as industry related skills. I tried to think of traits that are unique to me and would make me stand out:

  • Teamwork
  • Flexible
  • Multi-tasking
  • Teachable
  • Strategic thinker
  • Logo design
  • Making GIFs
  • Branding

Once you have you have your list of attributes it is important to think of evidence to support these claims. Recall situations or experiences that prove these traits are a strength, for example:

Multi-tasking/flexible – At my past internship, I was working on a design project that was interrupted because my supervisor realized a flyer needed to go out to print by the end of the day to be done in time for the event. So, I began working on that project but then had to stop in the middle to go take pictures of an event that was taking place. Although I took on many projects at once I was able to prioritize to give each one the attention it needed to finish everything in a timely manner.

Logo design – I have created various logo designs for different companies, clubs and organizations

Share Your Story

Another aspect of your brand that you will want to focus on is your story. How did you get to where you are? What makes you passionate about your field?  This allows people to know you on an emotional level and not just as a list of your accomplishments and skills. For me, I like to tell the story of how I decided to study advertising:

Advertising and graphic design have been a passion of mine since I created, branded and marketed my own energy drink “Spazz” for my 7th grade technology class.  I found the balance of creativity and logistic to be the perfect mix for my analytical yet artsy mind.

Show Off Your Quirks

An additional way to make your brand seem more personal is by showing off your quirks. These habits make you who you are and can add some “spice” to your brand. For me, the fact that I am a southerner now living in Boston makes for interesting tidbits, as well as my passion for different cultures:

I may be from Georgia, but I have definitely adopted the New England lifestyle. You can catch me sporting my Red Sox hat, and ‘Bean Boots with a Dunkin’ in hand but I will never give up saying y’all. I love all things food, travel and art.

Find Your “Take-away”

Once you have figured out the main aspects of your brand you will be able to create a key take-away that embodies everything you want to express to potential employers:

“I am an analytical, yet creative thinker who is flexible and has a passion for creating meaningful work that helps enhance a brand.”

Although you will probably never be asked in an interview what your mission statement is, this key takeaway can give you direction for materials that future employers will see such as your resume, cover letter, portfolio and LinkedIn profile.  When creating these materials, it is important to ask yourself: ‘does this align with my brand and is my mission statement well represented?’

Another way to strengthen your brand is through the look of your materials. It’s important that your resume, cover letter, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile are cohesive. I suggest sticking with the same font across all materials and make sure you use the same header for both your resume and cover letter. This will help future employers recognize you better across all platforms.

Here is an example of my LinkedIn profile:

Example of LinkedIn Profile

And an example of my resume that I feel represent my brand:

Example Resume

Creating a personal brand takes time and effort but is totally worth it!  With these steps I hope you can create a brand that is uniquely your own and will help you stand out to employers.

As always, we encourage you to stop by CO-OPS + CAREERS to discuss your questions with a Co-op + Career Advisor. You can make an appointment or swing by fall drop-in hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:30 – 4:00 PM. Our office is located at 101 Wentworth Hall.

Feel free to contact us via email at coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or call us at 617-989-4101. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

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!

The Benefits of Co-op Institute

By: Ria Kalinowski

It’s fall of your junior year at Wentworth and what’s looming over your head? Co-op search. You have no idea how to get started and you’re already busy with classes. Instead of waiting until the last minute and scrambling to throw together a resume and submit applications, join Co-op Institute! Co-op Institute is a six-week course that meets for 50 minutes once a week and provides students with support for all aspects of the co-op search.

Weekly Topics

Resumes
Cover Letters
Networking
Job Search
Interviewing
Co-op Insights

Tangible Takeaways

Approved resume
Access to search for co-ops on WITworks
Draft of a cover letter
Beginnings of a LinkedIn profile
Relevant handouts and videos
Professional padfolio for those who complete the course

Your Co-op + Career Advisor will teach you how to write a resume and review one you’ve made. You will meet with them one-on-one to get your resume approved and ask any specific questions you may have. If you are searching in a certain geographical area or for a specific type of co-op, they can give you resources or suggestions for targeting your search. In class, your advisor will discuss how and when to write a cover letter as well as the benefits of using LinkedIn.

 

What You Will Learn

Your Co-op + Career Advisor will explain the co-op process and what paperwork you will need to complete to get credit for and then pass your co-op. He or she will show you how to use WITworks to upload documents and search for co-op positions. In class, you will examine job postings and discuss how to tailor your application materials to each position. Networking techniques will be reviewed and you will learn what to do at a career fair or other employer events. You will get an overview of different types of interviews as well as how to be successful before, during, and after an interview. During the last week, you will also get co-op tips either from an employer or from Wentworth students who have been on co-op before. This is a great opportunity to network with an employer or ask about other students’ first-hand experiences.

 

Practical Experience

Craft and practice an elevator pitch
Practice answering interview questions using the PAR/STAR method
Use class time to search for jobs using WITworks and other job search engines
Get an introduction to LinkedIn and explore best networking practices

 

Final Words

Co-op Institute is the perfect spring board for your co-op search. You will begin to build a relationship with your Co-op + Career Advisor or, if your class is taught by a different Co-op + Career Advisor, you will become familiar with someone in the Co-ops + Careers Department. You will be the first to know about upcoming employer events and get quick access to search for co-op positions on WITworks. All your questions about the co-op process will be answered and you will gain a better understanding of what it takes to be successful during your co-op and even a full-time job search!