A Global Experience in Husky Territory!

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About a year ago I was sitting in a lecture theater back in Scotland learning about industrial placement (also known as Co-op) at Northeastern University. Today I have to admit that it is not what I expected, but so much more! And I realize that I need to take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves.

My international co-op (internship) at Northeastern is definitely a life learning experience. The past six months have been a tremendous professional growth opportunity. I came to that realization this past week as I have been participating in and helping with the interviews for next year’s incoming Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) intern traveling to Boston. It was at that point that I realized how much I grew as a professional, I recognize how much I have changed and how much this experience is shaping my future – and how much it will impact me, for the rest of my professional career.

Since the beginning of my internship I have been able to build stronger communication skills both verbal and non-verbal, to achieve this I have been assisting and presenting to different student bodies, information sessions, facilitated employers call and visit on campus. I have also been corresponding with different employers all around the globe on almost a day to day basis. The skills were further improved through the management of large scale event – 400 students attending and participating- and with the administration of the front desk of the Career Services department, a highly visible position with a lot of traffic requiring vigilance and multitasking. This part of my role was challenging at first as I wasn’t familiar nor had experience in business administration.

My work at Northeastern University over the past couple of months gave me a growth opportunity that I never expected to happen as no previous employment gave the opportunity to expand my understanding and abilities to deeply explore a business environment and its opportunities on a global scale as well as getting a deep and comprehensive knowledge of higher education in the USA. This will further help me to shape who I am as a professional as I will have experiences in different working culture. The American working culture is really different than any European working culture I have previously experienced. This hierarchical system made me realize the opportunities of growth that are available in the USA and therefore making think about different opportunities that coming back to the USA after graduation might offer me.

Overall, my experience has been valuable and challenging, as I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  You can read my weekly or monthly Vlog about my internship; as it will definitely shape my professional future.

Alexandra Wilcock, is a third year Business Management Student from Glasgow Caledonian University. Originally from France,she decided after high school to move to Glasgow to pursue her  dreams. After two years of theory and classroom learning, she was ready to experience the real world and get involved in a yearlong professional engagement.

 

Going Online with Confidence: How to Ace Your Skype Interviews

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While it would be wildly convenient if co-ops and careers fell from the sky into our laps, that’s simply not how the world works. In order to be hired in any position, it’s generally a given that you’ll face a much-dreaded hurdle: the interview. Mastering the interview (and, for me personally, learning to rein in my awkward nature) is a lifelong endeavor that generally improves over time. However, while applying for co-ops abroad during the past two months, I had to grapple with a new beast: the Skype interview. While the thought of doing a Skype interview used to make me wish I didn’t have a webcam, after partaking in several of them, I have a better feel for how they’re best handled. If you have a Skype interview coming up and find yourself nervous to stop hiding behind your “do not disturb” status, consider the following tips.

Find a good interview spot

Before worrying about the interview itself, decide where you’re best suited to take your call. A good environment for a conversation builds the foundation for a seamless exchange. A quiet space with a neutral background and good lighting are ideal. Perhaps most importantly, flawless Wi-Fi is key. After having the call drop a few times during my first interview, which I took in my flat, I did the rest of them from my office after hours because the internet connection is much more reliable there. Nothing kills the flow of a good conversation like being cut off in the middle of it!

Take account of your account

Before sharing your contact details with a potential employer, evaluate how you present yourself on Skype. Is your screen name appropriate? Is the song lyric you last posted as your status unprofessional? Do you have a profile picture? If yes, does it reflect the initial image you want an employer to have, of you? If you don’t currently have a profile picture, consider adding one before your interview; employers generally appreciate being able to see who they’ll be speaking with beforehand, and it adds a personal touch to your profile.

Additionally, make sure you share Skype contact details with the employer before the interview. For good measure, change the generic “I’d like to add you as a contact” message to something more personal regarding looking forward to the interview, for example. Along with being an additional pleasantry, doing this allows you to confirm the identity of the person you add. If you get a confused response from someone you’ve accidentally added thinking they were your potential employer, you’ll find out right away rather than minutes before the interview. Another essential thing to remember is setting your status to “online.” I perpetually set my status as “away,” regardless of whether or not I’m in front of my computer, so I made a note for myself to remember to sign on before all my interviews.

Businesswoman with Laptop

 

Dress for success…at least from the waist up
Skype interviews are unique in that they allow you to present yourself to an employer from the waist up, providing the opportunity to tweak your bottom-half wardrobe strategy for the interview. While some people feel more confident dressed in head-to-toe business attire, I always feel a bit out of my element in such clothes because I wear them so rarely. So, being able to swap my dress pants in for sweatpants during an interview without fear of being penalized helped me relax. Plus, being able to say you landed a position while wearing your comfiest clothes brings a satisfaction worth experiencing.

Use the split-screen advantage

Another advantage unique to Skype interviews is being able to keep notes directly in front of you during the conversation. While you can obviously still use notes written on paper, I found it helpful to keep my résumé and interview notes in a Word document on one side of my computer screen while keeping the Skype window on the other side. Being the kind of person who holds notecards during presentations but never ends up looking down at them, I always feel more comfortable having a reference handy, regardless of how much I use it. If you use this strategy, take care to focus on the interviewer and not stare at your notes the whole time, though!

Regardless of whether you interview in person, over the phone, or through Skype, entering it prepared and confident always lead to the best results; for my fellow Skype interviewees, these tips are a plus. Good luck, fellow co-ops! May the Wi-Fi be ever in your favor.

Nicolette Pire is a junior Combined Linguistics and English major. She is currently pursuing her second co-op as a research assistant in the psycholinguistics group at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. An aspiring polyglot, she’s using her first international experience to immerse herself in as many cultures as possible while sharing her international faux pas along the way. Feel free to reach out to her at pire.n@husky.neu.edu.

 

Northeastern’s Special Sauce in Southeast Asia!

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The Global Employer Relations Team (which is a unit within the Co-op and Career Development department) recently trekked to Thailand and Vietnam to meet with prospective employers to recruit and create job opportunities for all students so they are able to participate in Global Co-op experiences. The trip was a great success!  The employers our team visited were well aware and familiar with Northeastern, which shows that we truly are a global institution! Job opportunities were developed and more are being nurtured.  Building these opportunities for Northeastern students take a lot of time to cultivate, sometimes it can be up to two years before an employer is fully engaged and ready to come on board as a co-op employer.

 

So, now that you have a little insider information to how much effort and time goes into developing co-op relationships, I would like to share my exciting travels to Southeast Asia and what I experienced!  Here are a few highlights!

 

Thailand
Wow!  What an amazing city.  This is a robust location with great visibility for Northeastern and new co-op opportunities (you can check out jobs in NUcareers.)  Pictured above is my visit to a start-up company in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we have a co-op student from D’Amore-McKim starting his job in January 2017.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I met with the President of Cotecco Construction, who happens to be an NU parent too! Cotecco is the largest construction company in the region. With a growing economy and ambitious workforce, Vietnam is a very desirable destination and has been for a couple years now.  Northeastern is well represented at Cotecco and here we are with the NU parent, NU alumnus, and current D’Amore-McKim co-op student.

Top Ten Reasons to Consider a Co-op in Southeast Asia:

  1. Incredible co-op and home country opportunities AND no language requirements (English speaking country)
  2. Many employers provide a small stipend and offer free lunch (with a chef on staff too)
  3. The dollar goes a long way – which is great for living expenses and traveling opportunities
  4. Robust Northeastern Alumni Communities in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
  5. Multinationals are there (leverage your US co-op with offices here such as  Reebok Vietnam or Wunderman Thailand to name a few examples)
  6. Amazing cultural experience
  7. Build your resume and boost your LinkedIn profile
  8. Pad Thai and Spring Rolls (and special sauce)
  9. Innovative spirit
  10. The People! The People!

Final Thoughts
It is our brilliant student population (you!) and diversity across our institution that is the main driver of why prospective employers quickly become engaged in the co-op program.  The co-op program is our special sauce, allowing employers to attract top talent early in the recruiting pipeline process.  For this reason, we have selected ten partners to participate in the February 2017 Career Fair, as part of a new Global Corner.  So mark your calendar for February 2, 12Pm to 4PM!  Be sure to introduce yourself to these employers and add Southeast Asia to your co-op bucket list!

Alane De Luca oversees the Global Employer Relations team and global lead-generation initiatives within Career Development and Cooperative Education.  She comes to Northeastern with 25+ years of experience working in the international education arena.  Alane’s passion for global experiential learning began when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, where she worked alongside NGO’s and native Senegalese in rural parts of northern Senegal.  Upon returning to the states, she assumed a position funded by the United States Agency for International Development focusing on initiatives set forth by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and administered at Northeastern.  She also has experience directing global and experiential learning programs within academia at Merrimack College, Salem State University, Suffolk University Law School, and Saint Anselm College.  She is a dual citizen of Italy, holds an M.Ed. from Northeastern University and a B.A. from The College of the Holy Cross.