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.

How to WORK the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Caitlin Brison

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

Low Key EXTRA
RESEARCH
  • 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.
RESUME
  • 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.
PLAN
  • 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!
DRESS
  • 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!
PITCH
  • 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!
THANK YOU
  • 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:https://wit.edu/coopsandcareers/cooperative-education/co-op-resources

Drop-In Schedule: M, W, Th from 1:30-4:30pm
Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 10am – 8pm, Fri 10am – 5pm
All Day Resume Drop-Ins:  Wed 9/27 & Thur 9/28 12pm – 5pm

 

TFW you nail the Career Fair

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!

 

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.

Wentworth’s Partnership with ASPIRE

By: Chris McIntyre

Wentworth students have plenty of support when searching for their two required co-ops. Dedicated advisors are there to assist every step of the way through resume reviews, job searching, interviewing, and everything in between. But even with this support, securing a co-op is challenging. This is especially the case for students who have a great deal of stress, anxiety, or other factors that can impact their search.

Recently, CO-OPS + CAREERS began a partnership with MGH Aspire. Dubbed Aspire @ Wentworth, the joint venture between MGH Aspire and CO-OPS + CAREERS aims to give some students extra support through the co-op process.

Through over 25 years of serving the community, Aspire has cultivated relationships with some of the biggest and best names in Boston. This, combined with the in-depth knowledge of the advisors from CO-OPS + CAREERS, prepares Wentworth students for co-op and life after graduation.

What is Aspire @ Wentworth?

A student’s co-op is about more than getting the offer. It’s also about growing as a person and a professional. Aspire aims to develop the skills necessary for navigation of the workplace and social communication in a professional context. Aspire @ Wentworth creates a way for students to develop social skills and manage stress through the process.
Aspire provides a structured program that combines the usual support from their CO-OP + CAREER Advisor with coaching with in-depth reflective seminars. This means the students’ advisor will be available to help with things like resume writing and using WITworks.
But students also work closely with an Aspire job coach both before and during the co-op. The Aspire coach will meet with the student at the beginning of the program, getting to know the student and their strengths, needs, and goals. Sometimes the coach will even accompany the student to their interview to ensure the student is at ease and communication is clear.
Once the student is on co-op, an integral piece of Aspire @ Wentworth is the weekly seminars led by Aspire on Wentworth’s campus. Students use the meetings to discuss what happened that week at work with peers also enrolled in Aspire. Other topics covered include:

• Socializing on co-op/at work
• Organizational skills
• Time management
• Networking
• Managing anxiety and unexpected changes
• Prioritization

These seminars are crucial in developing lifelong skills to succeed in life as well as an outlet for students to meet and discuss shared experiences with peers. The common thread Aspire @ Wentworth focuses on is the 3Ss: Social Competency, Self-Awareness, and Stress Management.

Aspire @ Wentworth Goals

1. To help co-op students learn the social aspects needed to succeed in the workplace
2. To assist co-op students in identifying and managing their challenges while recognizing and developing their strengths
3. To empower co-op students to enhance their skill set and build their confidence to be independent in the workplace

Career readiness is a hallmark of Wentworth, and the Aspire program is another way CO-OPS + CAREERS prepares students for life after Wentworth.
For more information on Aspire @ Wentworth, contact coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

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.

 

So, you want to go to graduate school…

By: Lauren Creamer

More and more students these days are telling me they want to go to graduate school. And they’re saying it earlier on in their collegiate careers. Before you jump on the grad school bandwagon, it’s important to a) ask yourself some critical questions, and b) have a plan of action. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it, if you know where you want to go next. Use the guide below to get started. And, as always, reach out to you CO-OP + CAREER Advisor for help!

Questions to Ask BEFORE You Begin:
• What do you want to go to grad school for? Master’s? PhD?
• Do you want to go into industry after OR do you want to teach?
• Why do you want to go to graduate school at all?
• Do you want to go immediately? Or work for a few years?
• How long do you want to be in school? One year? Two years? Five+ years?
• Where do you want to be? Does it matter?
• What schools offer your desired program(s) of study in your preferred location?

Action Steps to Take:
• Make a list of those schools, including program directors/coordinators and contact info.
• Make an outreach plan and conduct outreach – ask thoughtful questions, show interest.
• Rank programs. Know their requirements. Work backwards from their deadlines.
• Prepare for and take the GRE. (Or whatever other standardized test the program(s) require).
• Connect with faculty mentors to get their advice on selecting schools and the application process. (They once went through the same process!).
• Connect with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor re: logistics for applying and writing your personal statement. (This is often more work than you might think!).
• Do you need to submit a skill-based resume or a CV? Don’t know the difference? See your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor!
• Begin applications and submit materials by deadlines.
• Prepare for program interviews. (This is a great time to loop back around with your faculty mentor).
• Review offers and accept at the program which is the best fit for you!
• OR defer acceptance until you are ready. (You never know, plans could change!).

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

Meet the Staff – Sara Dell

Originally Sara Dell, Associate Director of CO-OPS + CAREERS at Wentworth, planned to be a Professor of Anthropology.  She earned two degrees before learning that she liked to work in teams and preferred seeing immediate results from her work.  So, she left her PhD program and instead, having come from a family of small business people, went to work in industry.  First in large corporate banking (in Foreign Exchange – the cowboys of banking, where 20 million dollars is traded into Yen in less than a minute) and then in a series of small startups and emerging growth companies in various industries including Buzz marketing, entertainment, and green technology.

Starting in operations and finding she liked working with people, Sara’s mentors encouraged her to specialize in Human Resources.  She found herself hired as employee number ten and the only operations person working for the 6-foot redhead CEO, and University of Cincinnati DAAP program alum.  She wanted her creative company to have co-ops.  The company had two interns the summer before Sara arrived and she grew the program to where there were co-op students in almost every department.  At one point, the ratio of co-ops and interns to staff was 1:3.

Working with co-op students became her favorite part of her job and so she decided to shift to Career Services in Higher Education.  Through a series of informational interviews, Sara landed an Assistant Director role at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago where she advised students’ full-time on their careers and finding co-ops and internships.   She found she loved working with engineering and technology students, appreciated being part of a team and was energized when a student would come in with a co-op, internship or a full-time offer.

A few years later, having lived 20 years in Chicago, Sara wanted to return home to New England.  She missed the region and her family.   When she saw the open position at Wentworth Institute of Technology, the school reminded her of her current school, but with the added benefit of a co-op program.  She applied and got the offer.  Hired as a CO-OP + CAREER Advisor, Sara is now the Associate Director, running the co-op program.  A career that started with building a co-op program in industry has grown into overseeing the co-op program here at Wentworth.   Sara’s journey has come full circle and she is back in Higher Education on a team who works with students’ full time. Sara celebrates every time a Wentworth student lands a co-op!

20 Tips for Networking and Navigating a Conference

By: Lauren Creamer

Conferences can be intimidating – whether you’ve been to them in the past or not. Here are some fool proof tips for conference newbies and veterans alike.

Know your audience. What type of conference is it? Who will be there? Professionals? Peers? Students?

Make a hit list. Who do you want to connect with? Note any presenters or attendees that you really want to connect with and make them a priority.

Bring business cards (and have a resume waiting in the wings). It is not always appropriate to go doling out your resume to everyone you meet – but business cards are universally welcome in a conference setting. Don’t have any? Try Vista Print – you can order 250 for the price of shipping. Pick a clean, minimalist design and get printing. BUT, if someone asks for your resume, be prepared to share a hard copy or send it via email.

Don’t carry anything in your hands (if you need to have anything with you, it should be in a bag). If you’re loaded with stuff it might be awkward to shake hands or converse with people. It may also make you seem closed off or busy.

Focus on the other person. This isn’t about you. It’s about them. So make the other person feel as if you’re genuinely interested (and you should be!). Ask them questions, let the conversation flow.

Be yourself! You’re trying to build relationships with people at organizations that make sense for you. It’s important to be authentic – you want to make in roads at places that are a good fit.

Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. Connect with presenters and attendees alike on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter. Send a “thank you for chatting” email post-conference.

At a break point or have some down time? Don’t take out your phone and surf the web! Interact. If everyone was sitting on their phones the whole time, no one would make connections.

See someone hanging out alone? Go over and say hi. If you’re in a group and you see someone alone, ask them to join. Either way, you’re making someone feel included and welcome.

Go to the pre-prescribed social activities: fun run, city outing, etc. This is a no-brainer! Structured fun = easy networking opportunity.

Making eye contact and smiling is always a good move. It makes you seem approachable and welcoming. Who doesn’t want to know someone who is approachable and welcoming?

Does the conference have an app? Can you talk to other attendees on it? Use it. You may be able to make connections through the app and then meet-up in-person, removing some of the anxiety. Same goes for a Twitter hashtag – chat with people through this, follow them, and then meet in-person.

Dress for the occasion. Ask around to see what the conference vibe is – sometimes it’s OK to wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Most of the time it’s not. Do your homework and dress the part.

Practice your handshake. No dead-fish hands! No vice grips! Nice and firm does the trick.

Went alone? Find a conference buddy and tag team. You can play off each other when networking and it may ease your anxiety.

If you have the time to prepare, submit a presentation/talk/poster – people will come to you!

Take breaks to rest and re-energize. You know yourself best. Need a 2 PM nap? Take it. Need to have some alone time before a night on the town? Do it.

PACK SNACKS. I cannot stress this enough. Being hangry at a conference is the absolute worst.

Wear comfortable shoes (but still dressy). You end up standing and walking more than you think you will, so wearing the right shoes is critical.

Relax. Take a deep breath. And go for it. What do you have to lose? If you don’t make any connections, you’re right back where you started. But I guarantee you, if you utilize these tips, you will do some awesome networking.