CO-OP + CAREER Fair Event Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 2nd from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Tansey Gymnasium. The event hosted 180 employers ranging from local design firms to international technology organizations and everything in between. It was our most well attended Fair to date, drawing 875 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time opportunities. Students came prepared to spend the afternoon learning and making new connections.

Fall Career Fair

Students who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair, below are some tips for following up. If you had a LinkedIn photo taken, look for an email from coopsandcareers@wit.edu in about a month.

  • Send 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 a list of employers is available on our website for reference. Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
  • 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 through 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!
  • You are always welcome to check in with your Co-op + Career Advisor to see if they can provide you with any helpful information, too.

Fall Career Fair Booths

If you were unable to attend the Fair be on the lookout for future opportunities to connect with employers, including the announcement about the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Our next event is Mock Interview Day, on October 22nd , and student registration is now open on WITworks. This is a great opportunity to practice your interview skills and get feedback directly from employers.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities in the coming months, and for details about our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Interested in participating in Mock Interview Day? Register for this free event through your WITworks account or by contacting Chris McIntyre, mintyrec@wit.edu.

Thank you to everyone who joined on October 2nd for the Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: BOND BrothersCommodore BuildersDACONElectric Supply Center, NOVO Construction, Schneider Electric, and TG Gallagher. Your support makes all the difference.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event!

Wentworth Hackathons – What they are and why you should participate

By: Faith Bade

The word “hackathon” comes from a combination of “hack” and “marathon”. Hackathons can last 24 hours or longer, with an informal culture (bring your sleeping bag) and food and drinks provided. Teams come to a hackathon fully organized or are formed on the first day. At the end of a hackathon, teams typically present their results. Often, there are contests and prizes. Most hackathons have a specific technology focus (a new app, website, coding, hardware) or a goal of using technology to solve a problem or for the greater good. Hackathons offer a great way to meet new people, learn new things, win prizes, and take home some swag. Plus, you can advance your professional experience and career success. And, btw, hackathons are free!

At Wentworth, we have a student organization called HackWITus. Founded in Fall 2016, HackWITus is one of Boston’s largest student-run hackathon organizations. In the last year, HackWITus has brought together 150+ students from across the country. Students worked on dozens of projects, attended workshops hosted by our exceptional faculty, and developed new skills, broadened their networks, and expanded their career opportunities.

According to Shawn Toubeau, a student organizer with HackWITus, hackathon participants can “connect with others in their profession, learn new tools, and get a sense of what is in demand.” Here in CO-OPS + CAREERS we agree, and we highly recommend that Wentworth students participate in a HackWITus hackathon. Why?Professional Persona

Add your hackathon experience to your resume, LinkedIn profile, and your portfolio. In interviews, talk about your teamwork experience, your efficiency, and the collaborative projects you worked on.  Impress employers with your cutting-edge skills and your commitment to staying ahead of the curve. Employers love that students attend hackathons and are learning outside of the classroom. BTW, all majors should try a hackathon. Just like organizations, bringing a diversity of thought, approaches, and skills to solve a problem often results in a better solution. According to Nova Trauben, a student organizer with HackWITus, “everyone brings something to the table.”

Recruiting

Hackathon participants can gain co-ops and full-time jobs. Employers sponsor hackathons and hire students. Showcase your skills, and your ability to collaborate and meet deadlines. Employers will want you to be on their team. At the end of Wentworth’s Spring 2019 Community Build Hackathon, sponsored by Rocket Software, 5 students received co-op offers. HackWITus also offers some higher level sponsors the option to receive a resume book of participants. Hackathons offer you a way to differentiate yourself.

Skills

 

Learn a new software. Expand your coding capabilities. Attend an interesting workshop. Technology is always changing – hackathons help you stay current on technologies and to learn from your fellow hackers. Plus, you can hone your presentation skills. You too can pull off a persuasive and articulate demonstration after 24 hours with little or no sleep!

 

Networking

You never know who you will meet at a hackathon. Sponsoring employers often coach, offer workshops, and judge the outcomes, and Wentworth faculty coach and present workshops. Get to know them all and stay connected. Plus, your teammates will be students from Wentworth and other universities and these connections can last forever.

Hacking Workspace sign

Self-knowledge

After participating in last year’s HackWITus, Nova said “It really felt like it jump-started my career.” Come to a hackathon and figure out what you like and dislike. Did you like coding? Did you like developing the product interface or identifying the product’s application? Or presenting? Or managing the team? Hackathon experiences will help you learn more about yourself and where to focus for your next co-op or full-time career.

Prizes

Who doesn’t want Bose headphones, or Airpods, or an Echo, or gift cards? Or an offer to co-op?

Fun

Stay up all night. Meet new people. The culture of hackathons is both intense and very chill. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a sleeping bag. Maybe bring your own Keurig. FYI – bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a change of clothes. (You – and your team members – will thank me for that tip.)

Any other takeaways?

Yes! As Shawn eloquently stated “One of the things that stuck with me after a hackathon ended was perseverance. It’s always hard to stick with something, especially if it’s new to you  . . .  but I think hackathons teach you to never give up easily and to keep on working at it until you finally get it.” Take a deep dive into something you are passionate about. Find out how fun it is to challenge yourself and work hard and create something (even if you don’t win a prize).

HackWITus is planning their next hackathon on November 9-10, 2019 in CEIS. Sign up now! Shawn, and all of us in CO-OPS + CAREERS, suggest that you “Come with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.” We hope to see you there!

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.

Place-Bound Job Search

By: Lauren Creamer

There are many reasons a person might not be able to travel to or relocate for a job opportunity, the most common among them being 1) not having the ability to drive or access to a car, and 2) living at home, away from Boston.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a co-op– it just means you need to be strategic in your search and start as far in advance as possible.

If you know in advance that you will be confined to a relatively small geographic area, you should consider the state of the employment market for your discipline. Let’s consider the following example.

Student driving car

You are a biomedical engineering student who lives on-campus and doesn’t have a car. While the biotech industry is booming in Boston and Cambridge, there are many start-ups and small companies that don’t have the bandwidth or financials to support a co-op student.

What can you do in advance to identify hard-to-find opportunities in the city?

You can network at off-campus events. You can reach out to alumni through LinkedIn. You can apply to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Internship Challenge. You can go to the career fairs of other schools (yes, many will let you in even if you are not a student!). All of these avenues take time and effort to explore, so starting early is critical for your success.

The same is true for being place-bound to a suburban or rural area. You may have access to a car here, but what is the market like? Another example. You are an architecture student who needs to be home for your co-op semester due to a financial hardship. You live in suburban Connecticut and the firm options are few and far between. Again, you need to start early. Use resources like the Connecticut chapter of AIA to identify firms within reasonable driving distance. Talk with your advisor about less common options like working in construction or construction management.

Connection through phone

I have seen students land great co-ops that meet their geographic restrictions and I have seen students truly struggle. The difference is in how prepared they were for their search.

I recommend incorporating the following actions into your search to yield maximum return:

  • Apply to job postings early and often. Use the job search sites that make sense for you (location specific sites, generic sites that have location filtering options, professional organizations for your region, etc.).
  • Follow-up within one to two weeks – on the phone, if you can.
  • Make cold calls to inquire about potential opportunities, even if nothing is listed on a company’s site.
  • Use your network – and Wentworth’s network – to identify opportunities.
  • Connect with alumni on LinkedIn and build a relationship through informational interviews (do this early, so you can inquire about jobs at the right time).
  • Ask your Co-op + Career Advisor if they know anyone else who has gone through a similar search. They may be able to connect you to that person, so you can learn from their experience.

Most importantly, talk about your plans with your Co-op + Career Advisor. A place-bound job search is incredibly active – you may not be able to rely on WITworks in the same way as your peers. That is OKAY. Your advisor will have tips that are specific to your major and personal situation. We are here to support you – whatever your needs!

How to Work the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

How to WORK the Career Fair – An approach for everyone, whether you are low-key or EXTRA!

Low Key Approach

EXTRA Approach
RESEARCH •   Find the list of employers attending on the “Jobs and Careers” App and research the ones of interest.

•   See if they have positions posted so you can research more about the companies ahead of the fair.

•      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 these questions 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 to employers.

•      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 hands, meet employers, ask good questions, and hand out 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 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 critique yourself.  Be mindful of eye contact, fidgets, and filler (“um, like”).

•      Pitch with a friend and practice your handshakes.

THANK YOU •   Shake employers’ 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 – email them to 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

Download the new WITworks App: Symplicity Jobs and Careers App:

Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/symplicity-jobs-and-careers/id1239828027?mt=8

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symplicity.csmandroid&hl=en_US

Image of a smiling leopard.
TFW you nail the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

Special Co-ops and Careers Fair All Day Resume Drop-Ins:  Thurs 3/14 & Fri 3/15

Weekly Drop-In Schedule: M, T, W from 1:30-4:30pm

Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor: call the front desk at (617) 989 4101

WITwear Hours: M, T, W 4 – 8pm, Th 5-8pm & F 10am – Noon

Informational Interviewing Tips

By: Kristen Eckman

One of the best ways to find out what an industry, company, or position is really like is to talk with individuals in the career you are considering. It is also an excellent way to expand your network and prepare for future job searches.

What is an informational interview?

An informational interview is a highly focused information gathering session with a networking contact designed to help you choose or refine your career path by giving you the “insider” point of view.
Through the process, you will gain a better sense of the real life experiences, challenges and opportunities, specific and perhaps hidden demands, as well as the drawbacks and limitations of the career field.
An informational interview can be in-person, over the phone, or via Skype (or another video platform). You should dress professionally and be prepared with a list of questions.

Informational Interview

How to Informational Interview :

Identify someone to interview

  • Consider family, friends, professors, advisors, alumni, and contacts from LinkedIn already in your network.
  • Get correct spelling and pronunciation of the contact’s name. Know their job title and whether they prefer a salutation.
  • If you are on co-op, consider conducting an informational interview with your supervisor and/or ask them for potential leads.

Contact that person

  • Reach out to the contact via email (see end of page for email templates).
  • State the reason you are reaching out and how you learned about their work.
  • Request a short (20-30 minute) in-person, phone, or Skype interview.
    • If the meeting is in-person, you should go to them.

Schedule the interview

  • Prepare yourself to be flexible. Consider when it is convenient for them to meet with you.
  • Professionals prefer that you suggest a few dates and times to meet. It takes the work away from them and makes the decision easier.

Confirm your appointment

  • Be sure you agree on a date, time, and format for your meeting. A brief note of confirmation will serve as a helpful reminder to you both.

Research the individual and career field

  • Research and read about the career field, the company, and the individual before you meet. This experience should not be a starting point for your career research, but supplement what you have already learned.
  • Your interview should focus on the individual and their experience; it is not a time for you to talk about yourself. Should the interviewee ask, be prepared to share a bit about your experience.

Prepare a list of relevant questions (and your resume)

  • You are the interviewer, so be prepared.
    • Find example questions at end of page.
  •  Bring an up-to-date copy of your resume to share only if the interviewee asks for one.

Be on time for your meeting!

  • Arrive 10-15 early if you are meeting in-person OR be sure your landline/internet connection is properly working. Be ready-to-go 15 minutes before the interview.
  • Be sure you are professionally dressed, equal to or exceeding the level of dress required at the interviewee’s place of work.

Follow-up with a thank you

  •  Always follow-up with a short note thanking the interviewee for their time. They may be a critical part of your network in the future. NOTE: consider how you will continue to stay in contact in the future.

Business Card

Don’t Forget To…

  • Take control of follow-up. Don’t leave the response open to the individual you have contacted. Let them know when you will reach back out, if you haven’t heard from them by the designated time.
  • Mirror the behavior of the professional you are interviewing.
  • Don’t forget your professional introduction. They will inevitably ask you to tell them about yourself at some point, so be ready with that important information.
  • Keep records of your contacts. Consider keeping a journal or creating a spreadsheet to track the names, contact information, and notes from your interviews. It is also helpful to keep the dates of contact and follow-up.
  • Maintain contact with the individuals you interview, but realize that some contacts might not be a good fit for the relationships you are trying to cultivate right now (or perhaps, ever). Label as: forget, hold, keep.
  • Connect on LinkedIn. Remember to always send a personalized message with your invitation.

Sample Questions 

  • Who would you consider the leaders of this industry (companies or individuals)?
  • How do you see this industry changing in the next 5-10 years?
  • What is a typical day/week like for you?
  • What challenges do you face in your position?
  • What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
  • Why did you choose to work at your current company?
  • What was your preparation for work in this field?
  • How did you get into this field? What special skills did you have before entering it?
  • Are there any skills you wished you had before starting the job?
  • What educational preparation would you recommend for a new hire in this field?
  • What experiences/skills do you expect new hires to have for this position?
  • How would you describe the culture of your organization?
  • What values does your company highly regard?
  • How do you know you are successful in what you do?
  • How does your company develop leaders?
  • With your current perspective, what additional skills would you have developed while at school to prepare you for this role?
  • What do you like the most and the least about your job?
  • What are the greatest rewards of your work?
  • What are the greatest frustrations? How do you deal with them?
  • What professional associations are beneficial to this job?
  • Is there anyone else you suggest I contact?
  • May I remain in contact with you? 

Sample Email Language 

Utilize the sample emails below as a guide to contacting your first interviewees.

(No prior connection)

Subject:  WIT student seeking industry knowledge

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

I am a sophomore at Wentworth Institute of Technology studying Biomedical Engineering. I found your name through the LinkedIn WIT alumni page. As a sophomore seeking my first co-op, I am hoping to learn from current professionals in the field. In viewing your LinkedIn page, I feel like I could gain valuable insight from what you have to share about your experience.

I wondered if we might be able to set a time for a quick 20-30 minute meeting where I could ask you some questions that will help me prepare for the co-op search ahead of me. We could meet in person, or speak over the phone/SKYPE.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Your first and last name

 

(From referral)

Subject: WIT student referred by Professor Christiano

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

I am a sophomore studying Facilities Planning and Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology.  Professor Christiano encouraged me to contact you. I would like to learn more about the field of Facilities Planning and Management before I begin my co-op search. I am particularly interested to learn about your own experience at (insert name of company).

I hope to meet with you at your convenience. Please email me with times and dates that are compatible with your schedule. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Your first and last name

 

Spring 2019 WITwear Hours: Mon–Wed 4PM–8PM, Thurs 5PM–8 PM, Fri 10AM– 12:30PM

Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

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

Image of a smiling leopard.
TFW you nail the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

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://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/resources/

Fall 2018 WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 5 PM – 8 PM, Fri 10 AM – 3 PM
Fall 2018 All Day Resume Drop-ins: Fri 9/28 & Mon 10/1 10 AM – 4 PM
CO-OPS + CAREERS Office + Douglas D Schumann Library & Learning Commons

Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

Stepping Out of Your Professional Comfort Zone

By: Abbey Pober

Image of ArrowsCom·fort zone / ˈkəmfərt zōn / noun: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview once, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” I can think of no better example of a professional who has taken calculated risks in their career which have resulted in incredible professional learning and growth. Stepping outside your “comfort zone” is a risk that is known to lead to big rewards when done strategically. If your goal is growth in your career, professional development is key to your success.

Why do you want to push yourself to do something outside your professional normal? The reason that motivates you is personal, changes based on where you are in your career, and can range from wanting a promotion, to needing to build new skills. Some of the benefits to challenging yourself professionally include:

  • Building your confidence
  • Strengthening your resume
  • Opening doors to new opportunities
  • Gaining new perspectives that change the way you approach your work
  • Discovering something you love
  • Increasing your resiliency

So, how exactly do you step out of your comfort zone? Again, this looks different for everyone.  You should be looking for an opportunity that will push you to try something new, or that will strengthen a weakness you want to work on.  If your work has you sitting behind a computer all day without much human interaction, consider seeking out speaking engagements, or ask to run part of a meeting for your department/team. Or perhaps you are a person who can talk to a crowd all day but struggles to sit down and focus on tasks for a long time? You could ask to take on an important project that will require you to sit down, plan for, and complete tasks individually rather than in a group setting. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Join a professional organization
  • Submit a proposal to present about something you are skilled at/an expert on at a conference
  • Reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to connect with
  • Write a blog/create something to share your expertise
  • Take a class that will challenge you

The important piece to stepping out of your comfort zone is taking the first step and doing it. When choosing what you will do to grow professionally, remember to be reasonable about the time and resources you must commit to it. Want to push yourself this semester? Consider joining a club/organization here at Wentworth, or reach out to your Co-op + Career Advisor to discuss ideas on how you can get involved off campus professionally.

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.

Creating an All-Star Profile on LinkedIn

By Ria Kalinowski

Bringing your LinkedIn profile to an All-Star (or complete) level is important because profiles that are complete show up higher in search results. If you want to be found by recruiters, fill out your entire profile. It’s important not only to complete your profile but to include key words that recruiters are searching for. Check out the key words employers are using in relevant job postings for some ideas.

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Grab Their Attention!

LinkedIn search results show your name, photo, and headline so it is important to include a professional photo (visit the LinkedIn photo booth at the next Wentworth Co-op + Career Fair!) and create a unique headline to grab peoples’ attention. When crafting your headline, think about where you hope to take your career as well the skills you have to offer. Headlines like, “Student at Wentworth” don’t give enough information or distinguish you from the 4,000 other Wentworth students. Adding your major or target industry helps but use the available 120 characters to take it a step further by sharing your skills or interests. Be careful to avoid spelling errors and stay away from these overused LinkedIn buzzwords!

Sample student LinkedIn headlines:

  • Former NASA Intern. Future Investment Technologist.
  • Electrical Engineering Student, Future Systems Engineer.
  • Computer Engineering Student | Former Systems Engineering Co-op at Vestmark | Laptop Repair Technician
  • Industrial Design Student at Wentworth ● Future Model Maker ● SolidWorks ● Shoe Design
  • Currently seeking full time position in logistics/supply chain or construction project management/estimating.

Tell Your Story

Use your summary to add personality to your profile and tell your story. Use all 2,000 characters to talk about what you are passionate about and how that aligns with your career interests. Recruiters use key word searches to find relevant candidates. Profiles that include the key words recruiters are searching for show up higher in search results, however, an overabundance of repeated words may get your profile filtered out as spam. When writing your summary, keep in mind that viewers only see the first two lines of your summary unless they select, “See more”. Check out summaries of co-op colleagues you admire or look up alumni profiles for ideas.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Why did you pick your major?
  • What is your dream job?
  • What are your key technical and non-technical skills?
  • What type of work environment do you thrive in?

Make (and Keep) It Relevant

Now that your dream recruiter has found you and their interest is piqued, show them you have the necessary skills to encourage them to reach out. Include any co-ops or jobs in your experience section highlighting technical and transferable skills relevant to your target industry. Add skills, coursework, and projects. If you have a portfolio or personal website include the link in your summary section. Upload your resume to your summary section as well. Request recommendations from past colleagues, classmates, or professors. Join groups and follow relevant companies. These show up in your interest section. Update your LinkedIn profile every semester just like you would your resume. Add new projects, experiences, and skills you have gained.

Customize your URL

Once your LinkedIn profile is complete, add your URL to the contact information on your resume. But FIRST, make sure to remove that long stream of numbers after your name. Go to your profile and click on “Edit public profile & URL” in the upper right-hand corner. Next, visit the “Edit URL” section in the upper right-hand corner and click on the blue pencil next to your URL. Remove the numbers and make your URL unique to you!

Once your profile is complete, make some connections! Connect with past and current colleagues, classmates, and professors. The number of relevant connections you have will help you show up higher in search results as well. According to LinkedIn, “The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher” which helps you rank higher in their search. Personalize each connection request to remind people of how you know them or outline why you want to connect. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool so make sure you are taking advantage of it! Meet with your Co-op + Career Advisor to get help creating your profile or making connections.  They can also give you feedback once it is completed. See our LinkedIn Guide for more suggestions.