Co-op Stories: Jasmine Andrade

By: Jasmine Andrade

Jasmine is a Wentworth Junior studying Interdisciplinary Engineering concentrating in Manufacturing Engineering and minoring in Industrial Design & Business Management, with a concentration in Project Management. She recently completed her second co-op at Amazon Robotics (AR) as the Technical Operations Co-op, Process Engineer. Jasmine generously shared her story with us:

Jasmine at Amazon Robotics

Her career goal is to become a Product Design Engineer or Innovation and Design Engineer, so she chose this combination of concentrations and minors to make her a well-rounded engineer and to meet her career goal.

“In a Product Design Engineer role, it is important to have skills in Design/Innovation (Industrial Design Minor), Research & Development (Interdisciplinary Engineering) and Manufacturing/Process/Industrial Engineering (Manufacturing Engineering Concentration). You must also have the ability for negotiating and communicating with internal and external business partners, contractors and vendors (Business Management minor). The variety of knowledge and perspectives that my concentration and minor provides allows me to continuously look at a problem through a multidisciplinary lens.”

  • Tell us about your second co-op at Amazon Robotics: 

The Technical Operations Co-op is responsible for delivering and supporting operations and production projects by collaborating with Amazon Robotics Tech Ops Engineering process owners and other cross-functional team members.

  • What interested you in this company/the role?

The culture of Amazon, the peculiar and eccentric ways of sustaining their mission to being “earth’s most customer-centric company for four primary customer sets: consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators” is what stood out. Amazon gives you the freedom to think a little differently and to embrace differences. Amazon works to avoid being bland, “big homogeneous, corporate Borg” and aims to stay transparent in what the company needs to continuously work on and improve.

The role stood out because it was different from the my previous role as a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Manufacturing Engineer at Raytheon IDS, the Process Engineering positions would provide me with a new skillset and also build on what I learned as an SMT Engineer. The position description also starts with “Are you inspired by invention? Is problem solving through teamwork in your DNA? Do you like the idea of seeing how your work impacts the bigger picture? Answer yes to any of these and you’ll fit right in here at Amazon Robotics (AR). We are a smart team of doers that work passionately to apply cutting edge advances in robotics and software to solve real-world challenges that will transform our customers’ experiences in ways we can’t even image yet. We invent new improvements every day. We are Amazon Robotics and we will give you the tools and support you need to invent with us in ways that are rewarding, fulfilling and fun.” The statement provided before you even look at the position description draws you into the possibilities and potential with AR.

  • What was your search process like? And how did you prepare for your interviews?

My search process included applying to 30+ co-op positions that fit my interest and skill set. I also reached out to my LinkedIn network for positions that I was interested in. I utilized the CO-OPS + CAREERS interviews questions list and wrote out all my questions for my on the phone interview for reference. For the in person interview, Amazon provided an outline for potential questions and the format for how they “grade” or determine if you fit culture and position. I wrote out all those questions and practiced answering them out-loud by myself and did a practice interview with friends.

  • While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of, or something that you worked on, that has inspired you? 

One of the project I had the pleasure to work on was for “a new, fully-electric delivery system – Amazon Scout – designed to safely get packages to customers using autonomous delivery devices” (https://blog.aboutamazon.com/transportation/meet-scout). I worked on preparing work instructions and set up for the alpha build. Through this process I was able to see how important the Process Engineering and Technical Operation is to Amazon and how we function cross- functionally with other divisions in Amazon to sustain the mission of being a customer-centric company. This project encouraged me to “Think Big”, “Insist on the Highest Standards” and to “Deliver Results”. These principles are something that stood out within this project and motivated me to continue to develop these skills in the projects that followed.

  • Knowing what you know now, how will you approach your Fall co-op/co-op search differently?

My approach to applying for fall co-op is to find/apply for positions that I see myself transitioning into a full time role. In addition, look at the company culture, history and mission. I am differently more picky in selecting co-ops this semester because I want to make sure I am applying to a companies that I see myself at, long-term and will provide me what the skills I need to acquire to meet my career goal of being a Product Design Engineer.

  • What advice do you have for students who are interested in working for a company like Amazon Robotics?

Go for it! Don’t be afraid to be yourself in your interview, embrace your experiences and peculiar ways to engineering and design thinking. Learn and be curious about everything, commit to being a life-long learner and dive deep into understanding the problem before seeking a solution. Also, remember who your customer is and how your idea or solution will benefit them.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jasmine! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. 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.

Co-op Stories: Joey Cordeiro

By: Joey Cordeiro

Joey Cordeiro is a Junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Wentworth. He completed his first co-op with Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI as a Student Trainee/Torpedo Systems Engineer. Joey recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share his co-op story.

Student on Naval Base

Tell us about your first co-op:

I worked in the Systems Integration and Test Branch in the Undersea Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department. My role was to support the build and programming of a test set for an electronics assembly used in a weapon system. I worked under and was mentored by several experienced electrical and computer engineers. I had already completed a summer internship with NUWC last summer.

What interested you in NUWC?

Working for a defensive and weapons company has sparked my interest for a few years now. I always knew that if I got into this line of engineering then it would be a very satisfying job, and I would be working on something that has an impact on today’s world.

Applying for a role with the Navy, were there extra steps you needed to take?

The application process was like most other engineering internships, including submission of a lengthy application, resume, and doing a few initial phone interviews. The process became much more involved once an offer was made and I accepted. The process of acquiring the required security clearance to work this government job was a lengthy one at that. The procedure was well worth it looking back; getting the great opportunity to work for a strong Navy operation such as NUWC.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

I normally spend my mornings reading torpedo specification documents and reading up on the hardware that I would be working with. There is an abundance of information and aspects of undersea weapons to learn about. The rich history of the vigorous engineering and years of hard work that has gotten NUWC to where it is today is truly what gets me excited to come to work every morning. I would typically spend all of my afternoon in the labs with my project team members working on the various tasks of our project. This spring co-op, I spent a majority of my time building a test set for the electronics assembly being programmed for the torpedo.

You are completing your second co-op with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. What has changed between your first co-op and your current?

I, along with my co-workers and managers, had more confidence in me to give me more responsibility and work load. I was able to work on multiple aspects of my electronics assembly program. On my first co-op I spent a lot of time working on specification documents, and revising and updated them to Navy standards. This time around, I was able to complete more hands-on work involving design, fabrication, and testing of a torpedo test-set.

Why did you choose to return for a second co-op with your employer? What advice do you have for students who are interested in returning to their first co-op employer?

I returned to NUWC for this co-op for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because of the satisfaction I got from working for the Navy. Seeing the great things we do as a 3000-person team here at NUWC, it was a no-brainer for me to return. A lot of it also had to do with my knowledge of defense systems as a whole. I learned a lot on my first internship, but I wanted to learn more and I felt that another 4-month co-op would do just that. I wanted to learn as much as possible about undersea warfare and what it feels like to serve the Navy fleet every day.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Joey! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. 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.

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!

Search image

  • 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.

Construction image

  • 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.

Bridging the Generational Gap in the Workplace

By: Chris McIntyre

At each point in your career– especially on co-op– you will work with colleagues in a variety of age brackets. They’ll be different in almost every way, from communication style to attire to their views on what it means to be a professional. To be successful in any workplace it’s imperative to understand how to navigate these generational differences. Understanding this will lead to greater levels of collaboration and higher levels of productivity – as well as perhaps saving you from embarrassing faux pas.

First, a brief primer on generations (Keep in mind there are no official cut-off points):

Baby Boomer: Those born from 1946-1964

Gen X: Those born from 1965-1979

Gen Y/Millennial: Those born from 1980-2000.

Author Jean Twenge dubbed the next generational bracket (2000-Present) iGen due to growing up with smartphone technology. iGens, who the eldest of the generation are now college-age, have key differences than previous generations at the same age including:

  • Less religious
  • Much more comfortable with technology
  • A tendency to experience life events, such as getting a driver’s license, at a later age
  • Spending less time with friends in person, but always staying connected to them
  • Less likely to have a part-time work experience before entering college

That last point is key when thinking about applying to co-ops. Hiring managers, who probably are from a different generation, may not know a co-op will be some iGens’ first job. So, when putting together your resume, think about the transferable skills employers look for: communication, collaboration, time management, problem solving, etc. It’s important to highlight these skills whether you got them from a school activity, sport or student organization.

Female biting pencil

My work in Employer Relations allows me to interact with individuals spanning all generations. In addition to the importance of transferable skills, another consistent thing I hear is the importance of professional communication. iGens don’t use their smartphones as a telephone, something previous generations have a hard time understanding. Thus, it’s important to spend time working with your advisor to practice professional telephone communication if you’re not comfortable. Often your first-round interview will be a phone screen, so it is vital you feel comfortable.

Working with iPhone

Related to verbal communication, employers frequently emphasize the importance of professional written communication. iGens tend to write in a less formal structure and tone, while other generations are the opposite. So, when writing cover letters and e-mails ensure you are writing in a clear and professional tone (PS – your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor should be reviewing your cover letters and other professional communications).

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding other generations. While it will be necessary on the job, it could even be the difference between getting the job in the first place.

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.

Follow-up: Why and How

By: Becky Smith

So, you’ve submitted a bunch of job applications and you haven’t heard anything. You may feel helpless, but there is something you can do!

First: Gather feedback that can help you to better attract attention. Ask your Co-op + Career Advisor to review your application materials including resume, cover letter, and any correspondence. If you are submitting a portfolio, get that reviewed too.

Second: Follow up to inquire about the status of the position.

Email follow-up graphic

Context: Pushy or Helpful? Desperate or Communicative?

Many people are initially uncomfortable with the idea of follow-up. They don’t want to appear pushy or desperate. Good news is: You can follow up without making a bad impression!

Co-op + Career Advisor Sara Dell has a great context for follow-up: “You are actually helping the employer by following up.”

Your recruiter or hiring manager likely has a pile of applications that they need to sort through, but other competing priorities keep them from digging in. By contacting them and expressing your ongoing interest in the job, you make it easier for them to engage with you and get started on the vetting process!

Be extra helpful: Include your resume and cover letter in your follow-up so there is no need to search for your application.

 

What to Say:

Co-op + Career Advisor Jer Jurma says he advises students to provide some structure for interview scheduling: “The tone is active in a follow-up communication. Give your reader a clear way to respond. Name a specific time period that you will be available for interviews and if it is getting close to your co-op deadline, share the date of your deadline.”

Examples:

“I will be in the area during the week of December 17 and am currently scheduling interviews. I am still really interested in your company and can meet at your convenience.”

“Wednesdays and Fridays are the days that I have the most flexibility. I’m sure we can find a time that is mutually convenient.”

“My school requires me to report a co-op hire by May 11. I want to respect your hiring timeline, but I think we can find a mutually convenient time. I wonder if we can get something on the calendar for the last week of April or the first week of May.”

I often advise students to have something new to say when they follow up.  

“Since I applied on November 17, I have added more relevant projects to my resume. See attached.”

“I have been following your company on Twitter for the past month and am really impressed with your new product launch.”

“I have been interviewing this week and am eager meet with your company as well – working in Operations at ADL Systems is one of my top choices at this time.”

 

How to find a point of contact for follow-up

Don’t have a name?

Find a recruiter or a relevant manager by searching on the company website or LinkedIn.

There is usually a main number or general email available on the company website. In start-ups and small companies, sometimes these emails and calls are answered by the founder or owner!

Have a name, but no contact information?

Websites like hunter.io can provide you with guidance regarding the email naming conventions for most companies.

 

Find more resources below:

Anatomy of a follow-up email: https://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/46/2018/06/Application-Follow-up-Email-Samples.pdf

More about LinkedIn: https://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/46/2018/06/LinkedIn-Guide.pdf

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.

First-Generation Students and the Job Search

By: Abbey Pober

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How does a co-op or job search differ for First-Generation students? Before I can get into those nuances, we must first define what it means to be a “First-Generation” or “First-Gen Student”. This definition varies slightly from institute to institute, but here at Wentworth we define First-Gen Students as “students who come from families where their parents did not complete a four-year college degree.” What this ultimately means for students who are the first in their families to attend college is that there is a “possibility that a student may lack the critical cultural capital necessary for college success because their parents did not attend college (Defining First Generation, 2017).” This does not mean that a First-Gen student will not be successful, it just means that they face hurdles and obstacles to navigating the college experience that their peers with parents who can guide them through the process, do not.

When it comes to a co-op or job search, First-Gen students often face additional challenges to understanding and conducting their search as well as with the transition from college to work.  From my own personal experience as a First-Gen student, I can remember not knowing where to start. Some of my questions included: What are my career path options? How do I network? What do I need to include on my resume? And why do I need to write a cover letter? The good news is, you don’t have to know the answers to these questions, you just need to know who to ask to get the support you need to be successful in your co-op and job searches.

This is where your Co-op + Careers Advisor comes in! The first day I walked into the Career Center at my University I was determined to get a summer internship between my Junior and Senior years but had no clue what career paths were available to my major, and the types of internships that would help to position myself for a future on that path. I was also very intimidated by networking because I knew my parents and extended family did not necessarily have connections in the field I was headed into and did not know where to begin building my own network. Through a series of follow up meetings, my career advisor helped me identify several paths that I could take (which included making my way to the job I am in now), supported my search through helping me tailor my resume/cover letter for each opportunity I was interested in, and educated me on the various on campus and off campus opportunities to network with and meet employers. The moral of this story? The first thing you should do is seek support and ask your questions! At Wentworth, you have a dedicated Co-op + Career Advisor based on your major who is here to help you prepare for conducting your co-op and job searches. They can help you navigate choosing opportunities that are a good fit for you, strategize ways to make connections through on and off campus opportunities, and cheer you on through your whole process. Your professors are excellent people to discuss your career goals with and identify industry events that can help you on your search.

So, what do you do if you or members of your family don’t have connections in your target industry or at employers you are interested in? First, don’t worry – your networking is a “living” resource, that grows with your career and can change as you gain experience and expertise. It is normal not to have a network if you don’t have work experience and haven’t been participating in industry events. Don’t let the lack of an established network prevent you from taking steps to build yours. You can start creating your network right here at Wentworth through events and opportunities to connect with employers and your peers, including: the Fall and Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fairs, Mock Interview Day, Wentworth on the Road, Employer In Residence drop-ins, Employer info-sessions, and major specific events. Want to take your efforts a step further? This article outlines 6 ways to get ahead when you don’t have connections.

To meet with a Co-op + Career advisor, 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.

Resources:

Defining First Generation. (2017, Nov 20). Center for First-Generation Student Success Blog. Retrieved from https://firstgen.naspa.org/blog/defining-first-generation

Sanders, K. (2018, Sept 25). 6 ways to get ahead when you don’t have connections. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90236706/6-ways-to-get-ahead-when-you-dont-have-connections

Mock Interview Day Fall 2018 Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Thursday, November 1st from 3:00pm –6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of five rounds of 35-minute interviews conducted by 41 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 108 students participated in 192 interviews, providing on average two practice interviews per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

Students laughing

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!

Students interviewing

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 19th, 2019. Check WITworks as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 19th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined us on November 1st to conduct practice interviews. 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

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.