How to secure your dream co-op

By: Austin Hoag

Austin Hoag is a Wentworth Junior studying Construction Management and serves as the CM Club Operations Manager. One of the many duties assigned to Austin as Operations Manager includes writing content for their website. Here is what he shared about his co-op search and areas where he was successful:

To secure your dream co-op, you will need…

  • A Polished Resume
    •  At this point, between being a student in the #1 Construction Management Program in the country among non-traditional students and having the credentials to be accepted into Wentworth, all students have the ability to create a competitive resume. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend sitting down with Janel Juba, Co-op + Career Advisor for Construction Management and Civil Engineering majors to create a resume employers will love. Besides, the hard part is done, now it is time to take advantage of and showcase your accomplishments!

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  • A Nice Padfolio
    • While this one might seem small, having something more organized than a pile of papers such as a Wentworth branded padfolio while meeting possible employers can go a very long way. Remember that these people will depend on you to be a positive representative of their company, and appearance is a large part of that.  *If you completed Co-op Institute, you will have received a padfolio at the end of the course. If your free Co-op Institute padfolio has gone missing, CO-OPS + CAREERS always has a few on-hand to borrow.
  • Attend CO-OP + CAREER Fair
    • The job fair that is offered twice a year (fall/spring) is, without a doubt, the BEST way to meet employers. The people you meet at the booth offer a unique look into the company and can help to give you an idea of the company culture.
  • A solid idea of what you want out of your co-op
    • One of the first questions almost every employer will ask you is: “what kind of position you would want if you were hired?”. If you know what that is, it can also help you narrow down your searches.

What to bring for your in-person interview…

  • Copies of your resume
    • Although they most likely will already have your resume, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is forgetting to bring it. Having it printed on resume paper shows that you are organized, forward thinking, and excited about the opportunity to interview.
  • Padfolio and or Notepad
    • Taking notes during an interview is vital, not only does it make you look more engaged, but taking notes will help you write a meaningful follow up email. *Write a few questions you want to ask and talking points to prep for your interview that will keep you on track.
  • The right attitude
    • An important part of the interview process is gauging each other’s personalities and making a first impression. Having a positive attitude and tone of voice when answering questions and confident body language can make all the difference.

On your first day and during field walks…

  • Office shoes and steel toe boots
    • In construction, you never know where the day might take you, especially your first day. Even though you may have an office job, employers very well may take you on a site for a variety of reasons. Have your gear ready because you will want to be prepared!
  • Plenty of water/food
    • Again, it’s construction, you never will know what the day will bring. On hot days, almost nothing is more dangerous than not having enough water. Food is often forgotten when it’s your first day, you never know what site you will be on, what the demands are and what will be open around you. Trust me, I have been unprepared in this area before.

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  • A notepad
    • Before my first day, this tip was suggested to me by other employees. One of the most unprofessional things you can do is walk into a meeting empty handed. I was meeting with the president of a subcontractor on my last co-op and I witnessed someone get kicked out of the meeting by their president because they were ill-prepared.
  • Anything that you think you might need
    • If you have a car and think it might come in handy, just bring it. It is always better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.

This blog was originally posted here, on the Wentworth CM Club website.

Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise with us, Austin! If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Is the key to success an effective to-do list?

By: Abbey Pober

Monday mornings at the office can sometimes be daunting. You know you have the week ahead to tackle the projects and responsibilities on your plate – but how will you get it all done? This has been a question I’ve tackled at the start of every work week since graduating from undergrad.  The answer, I have found, lies in my tried and true “to-do” lists filled with small, manageable tasks that roll up into the big picture of my goals for that day, week, month, or a specific project. On these lists you’ll find everything from “respond to email from ‘x'” and “develop fall event campaign strategy” to “fix spelling of ‘y’ on website”. The key to an effective “to-do” list is identifying what small actions must be taken to achieve your goals in accordance with your priorities.

 

Making A To-Do List:

To get started, try establishing a running list of all your tasks so you can see all pending work in one consolidated place. The format with which you track this list is a personal choice, and could be a simple handwritten list, a word document on your computer, or on an app/digital planner – whichever method you choose, pick one and stick with it (Cavoulacos)!

Once this list is created you can begin breaking it down into priorities for the week and then tasks you can realistically accomplish in a single day. If you aren’t sure what you can get done in a day, consider something like the 1-3-5 Rule to help you decide what to put on your daily to-do list. Under this rule ” assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things (Cavoulacos).” Keep in mind, if you have meetings on a certain day or are in a role where unexpected tasks can be assigned to you regularly, your capacity to complete work will be reduced and your daily task list should reflect that. I add meetings to my daily to-do list to be sure I account for the time I’ll be away from my desk when prioritizing work for the day. It’s important that you recognize you have a finite number of hours in your day and the goals you set for yourself should reflect that.

Organization

Digital Tools to Help You

Recently I transitioned my handwritten system to an all-digital tracking method which had two benefits: I’ve reduced the amount of paper waste I create, and the digital format has helped me to prioritize and manage my responsibilities more effectively because I am able to keep my running list, weekly and daily task plans, and project goals all in one place. An unexpected bonus – I can share my digital planner with my boss who can see all the work on my plate and help me prioritize when needed. Below are some apps and tools I have used and recommend for getting started:

  • Microsoft Planner (free for Wentworth students and staff with your network access credentials)
  • Trello
  • Asana (free for individuals)
  • Microsoft ToDo
  • Excel/Google sheets
  • Phone task/reminder app

 So, why have a to-do list?

The benefits of creating a running task list and planning your work out by week and day are significant. First, because you’ll have a firm grasp on your tasks and priorities you are able to have informed discussions with your supervisor if they come to you with a new project. You can talk to them about where the new work fits in the context of your current plan and re-prioritize accordingly (Cavoulacos).  Beyond this practical application, setting small achievable goals can keep you motivated in your work and on track to achieving your big picture goals (Wood, 2018). Your to-do list is a physical manifestation of your goals and a roadmap for how you plan to achieve success.

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As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

 

References:

Cavoulacos, A. (n.d.). Why You Never Finish Your To-Do Lists at Work (And How to Change That). The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-you-never-finish-your-todo-lists-at-work-and-how-to-change-that

Wood, D. (2018, October 17). How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-the-act-of-daily-goal-setting-makes-you-successful.html