How to answer the “greatest weakness” question.

By: Becky Smith

Sometimes a painful moment arises in an interview: My pulse is racing, my palms are sweaty, and my grasp on my vocabulary is slipping. Now you want me to talk about my greatest weakness? Really?

Why do hiring managers ask about weaknesses, anyway?

Employers want to know what strengths you can contribute, and what you could do better.
Prior to the interview, hiring managers have only read about you. The interview is their chance to meet you and evaluate what you could provide in the role for which you are interviewing. Your skills, interests and experience are part of the picture, but they also want to know what you are working on improving or learning.

They want to know how you perceive and overcome challenges. It’s a way to get to know you as a person!

Experienced recruiters and managers know that work is called work because it can be challenging!
You interviewers are not toying with you. They are not trying to trick you. They want you to talk about your greatest weakness because it gives them an opportunity to observe a few things about you: how you perceive challenges, how you problem solve, and your capacity to learn from your mistakes.

So…. Don’t just choose any weakness. Be prepared with an example that demonstrates growth.

Weaknesses don’t just go away. They may stick around forever. But we can develop strategies to overcome them so that they diminish little by little!

What is a weakness that you possess, that you can manage now, and that used to pose a much more significant barrier to your success? Use it to craft a story that is one part honesty, and one part success!

What is a weakness that embarrasses you or that you would have a hard time expressing positively? Do NOT share this one. (All are uncomfortable to a certain extent but some are things we really don’t want to talk about!)

How: Name the weakness. Briefly describe how it affects your performance at work or at school in the present. Briefly describe how it was in the past — either at jobs or in your school work — and tell your interviewer what you do to manage your weakness.

For example:

[Name the weakness and how it affects you in the present] I am shy when I need to speak in public or when I am meeting new people. I have worked on this shyness at Wentworth, where I have done group projects every semester with my classmates and we have presented our results in front of classrooms.

[The past] A couple of years ago I was so shy that I didn’t ask any questions or share ideas, and I tried to completely avoid attention. This made it difficult for me to work on group projects at school because I had a hard time expressing my ideas and sometimes I would be slow to communicate about important updates or changes that my group needed to be aware of.

[What you have learned/your strategies] I really just needed practice. Now when I feel stopped by my shyness, I remind myself how important it is to keep communicating so the work can move forward. That motivates me. I have also learned that it is helpful to prepare in advance for public speaking.

Disclosing a weakness will never be 100% comfortable. But prepare for it. You will impress yourself and others.

Knowing your weakness makes you a stronger team member and your ability to express it is a strength that will make you stand out as an especially self-aware job candidate. By talking articulately about a weakness, you will provide a glimpse of who you really are as a human being – and hiring managers make time to meet with you because they want this glimpse! Work with your Co-op Advisor for help getting started or to get feedback on a weakness you are preparing to discuss.

Meet The Staff – Robbin Beauchamp

I have been the Director of CO-OPS + CAREERS at Wentworth since September 2014. I joined Wentworth knowing that I wanted to work with students who know what type of career they aspire to having and are dedicated to getting it. I always thought I would end up at a business school, such as Bentley or Babson, and I am thrilled to be at a technology school as college graduates of STEM programs are distinctive and highly desired by organizations.

Wentworth is unique due to the co-op program and being the person who gets to direct it is both humbling and exciting. In my research, I am hard-pressed to find another college in the US that requires every undergraduate degree student to complete two co-ops to graduate. It is a privilege to work with students who are committed to their career paths and understand the value that CO-OPS + CAREERS offers them to achieve their goals. Employers love hiring our co-op students and new graduates. We hear from employers every day about the quality of the education the students are receiving. It is a joy to work here.

I arrived at Wentworth having worked in career services since 1999 and in Human Resources for 10 years prior to that. I am fortunate that I could transition into higher education career services and bring with me the experiences I had working in television and radio, financial services, medical research and a clinical environment. I can share my knowledge of benefits administration with students, explaining how compensation is much more than just a salary. I can share my experience of being a recruiter, providing students with interviewing strategies that set them apart from other candidates as well as writing excellent resumes and cover letters that open the doors to those interviews. And I can share my knowhow of employee relations to educate our students to be the best employee and stay clear of legal obstacles that may hinder their employment. I use these same skills to help employers write impactful job descriptions, assist them to develop recruiting strategies to entice our students to apply for their openings and coach them on how to be excellent supervisors of our students. Coming from Human Resources provides me with unique skills in career services and I am grateful for them.

As a director, I am unable to have a student case load, but I do see students during Drop Ins and enjoy it very much. After all, it was my desire to work with students that brought me into this profession. Like all professions, the higher up the organizational ladder you climb, the further away from the clients you often get. However, I work with a GREAT group of Advisors and Operations people who are so dedicated to our students. Together, we bring employers to campus to meet our students, plan educational networking events and find innovative ways to connect employers, students, alumni and faculty. I love my job and working for Wentworth. I am a very lucky person.

Spring Cleaning for Your Social Media

By: Ria Kalinowski

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming and whether you are searching for your co-op or a full-time position, it’s time to dust off your social media accounts. Presenting your best self while job searching is extremely important. You need to make sure your social media presence is helping you do that as employers often check applicants’ social media during the hiring process. Here are some tips for cleaning up and improving your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles.

LinkedIn

· Update your photo! Make sure your picture is recent and professional.

· Boost your Search Engine Optimization! Add industry specific keywords to your headline and summary. Adding relevant words increases the chance that your profile comes up when employers and recruiters search for potential employees.

· Grow your network by joining groups! You can learn about what people in your industry are talking about and contribute to the discussion. You can also send direct messages to people who are members of the groups you are a part of. See the handout, ‘Joining Groups on LinkedIn’ for more information.

· Additional Tips: https://www.recruiter.com/i/5-steps-to-take-when-using-linkedin-to-network-for-a-job/

Twitter

· Improve your bio by including hashtags and keywords. You only have 160 characters!

· Pin a tweet! You can select one of your tweets to stay at the top of your twitter updates. Choose a professional tweet that relates to your industry.

· Update your list of people and companies to follow. Use your target list of companies and this article to focus the content you see on your twitter timeline.

Facebook

· Review, and delete or un-tag yourself from any unprofessional photos. You don’t want to lose a job opportunity because of inappropriate pictures on your profile!

· Also, be cautious about violating privacy policies if you post pictures of current or past work environments.

· Clean out your contacts: remove any friends that you are no longer in contact with or assign them to groups such as Acquaintances to limit their access to your profile.

· Take control of your privacy! Go to your Privacy Settings and limit the sections of your profile that are public. In the Timeline & Tagging Settings you can also limit who can post to your timeline and be able to review any posts before they appear on your timeline! Keep in mind that even if you limit access, people may still be able to view sections of your profile that you wanted to keep private depending on how they are connected to you. Best practice: remove all unflattering content!

 

Happy cleaning!

What Makes Wentworth Unique?

Decorative ImageBy: Robbin Beauchamp

Sure, all of our undergraduate day students are required to complete two co-ops to graduate. That requirement certainly makes a Wentworth graduate unique. The question is: how do we get our students prepared so they are successful?

First Year Seminar

All first year Wentworth students are required to complete First Year Seminar. This first semester class is designed to help our students’ transition to Wentworth by learning about time management, academic expectations, academic integrity, and how to register for classes.

Co-op Institute

It is strongly suggested that all second year students complete Co-op Institute, a seven-week hybrid class taught by the student’s dedicated CO-OP + CAREER Advisor. During this seminar, students learn how to write a resume and cover letter, conduct an effective co-op search and interview, learn how to use social media for networking, create an “elevator commercial”, how to be successful at the co-op and how to register for the co-op. Attending Co-op Institute has shown that students are better prepared for the co-op search and have better results.

WITwear

Better results includes invitations to interview. All students should dress professionally for this meeting and some students don’t have access to a business suit. Let’s face it, it is an item of clothing that will only be worn for interviews. Once hired, students on co-op wear business casual attire, so why invest in this garment? Our current students are part of the “sharing economy”. This is a generation that has made Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Spotify hugely successful so why not share business clothing, too. CO-OPS + CAREERS created WITwear during the fall 2016 semester so our students could have access to professional clothing when they need it. Donations were made by faculty and staff and all garments that were not new have been dry cleaned and are dry cleaned between each user. WITwear is located in Tudbury Hall and open Monday-Thursday between 5:00-8:00pm.

Wentworth On The Road

One way for our students to meet employers is to have them visit the employer at their location. In May 2016, CO-OPS + CAREERS launched “Wentworth on the Road”, a program that allows our students to meet employers at their office, have a tour, meet with hiring supervisors and learn about the opportunities they have for co-op and post-graduation jobs. In our first year, three employers participated and this year, 10 are confirmed. The employers are located in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and hire from all of our majors. We host this program during the first week of May so the visits are not during a time classes are in session. Students are not necessarily in the Boston area which is why the sites are throughout the region. Students are responsible for their own transportation and lodging if needed. Wentworth on the Road is a great way for our students to practice the networking skills they learn in Co-op Institute.

ASPIRE Partnership

For some students, networking is a challenge. Personal interactions can be difficult, as can situations that produce stress, such as interviewing. With co-op a requirement of graduation, CO-OPS + CAREERS has partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s ASPIRE program to provide personal job coaches to students who need intensive assistance before and during the interviews and during co-op. ASPIRE meets with each student to help them assess the level of assistance they need and provide practice interviewing. The job coach can attend the interview with the student if the student would like. Once the student has begun their co-op, the student is required to attend a weekly seminar facilitated by their ASPIRE job coach and attended by other Wentworth students in the program. Students who are interested in this program need to discuss ASPIRE with their CO-OP + CAREER Advisor.

All of these programs are in place to ensure that Wentworth continues to graduate highly-sought-after students by employers. In the last two years, between 98-99% of our graduates were employed or going to graduate school within six months of graduation. Wentworth itself is unique as a college and our uniqueness has translated into exceptional career success for our students.