Finding the Perfect Internship

I can do more than get coffee source: www.collegerebellion.com

I can do more than get coffee
source: www.collegerebellion.com

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and has a MS in Higher Education from Northeastern. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. 

During my time here at Northeastern Career Development, “How do I find an internship?” has been one of the most common questions students ask me. Northeastern students are known for their drive and desire for practical experiences so it hasn’t really come as a surprise. Typically, I advise students to turn to one of the following three avenues for finding an internship.

1. HuskyCareerLink & Other Job Board Websites: If you haven’t already, check out our internship listings on HuskyCareerLink. These are companies that are interested in working with Northeastern students, which means that you will stand out more in the applicant pool. My favorite way to search for internships on HuskyCareerLink is to click “More Search Options” at the bottom of the job search box that is found on the home screen and then select “Internships” from the list of one- click searches on the left hand side of the page. This will pull up a list of all the internships we currently have posted; as I write, that number is 500! You can narrow your search down using the options in the menu on the left hand side of the page if you want. Once you identify some potential internships, make sure to personalize each resume and cover letter based on the job description.

If your perfect internship isn’t on HuskyCareerLink, don’t fret- there are other options. You can use websites like Indeed or SimplyHired to do a basic internship search. These websites essentially function like the Google of job searching, pulling results from other web pages. You can also get a little more specific to your major by identifying some job boards that are used by your industry. Take a look at your major’s Career Guide, where there is a list of these websites towards the bottom of the page.

2. Networking: Sometimes your perfect internship isn’t even posted! That means you’ll have to find out about it another way- through networking. As an introvert, networking used to sound like a scary word. I worried that I didn’t have a big enough network to be helpful and I was too shy to reach out to new people. Then I started informational interviewing and realized networking doesn’t have to be scary! As a matter of fact, it can even be fun.

You should start your networking process by setting up a LinkedIn profile. We offer a workshop here at Career Development called “LinkedIn 1: Building Your Profile” that’s awesome and I highly recommend it. If you’re just starting out, your profile probably won’t be that developed at this point- that’s OK! You’re already ahead of the game just by being on LinkedIn. Make sure you have a good picture and a catchy headline and you’ll be all set. Once you have a LinkedIn profile, use the advanced search to identify people who work at your target companies or in your target industries. From there, you can reach out to people you found and try to set up informational interviews. Knowing people in your industry can help you to find out about internship opportunities or potential mentors.

3. Stick Your Neck Out: Sometimes looking at job search websites or networking just isn’t going to work. I got my first internship by doing my research and reaching out to the Director of an Academic Advising Office near my undergraduate college without knowing her or anyone else in the office. Not only did the internship confirm my choice of career path, but it also helped me to build my network! If I hadn’t taken a risk, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be working in Career Development now. That being said, there are right and wrong ways to reach out to potential employers. You should always be respectful and formal in your emails- use formal titles like Dr., Mr., or Ms. Explain why you are trying to gain experience and make it clear you are asking for an unpaid internship. Finally, always make sure to give the person an out- some people won’t have the time or space to take on an intern and others may want to interview you first before deciding to hire you.

Whether you’re looking for your first or fifth internship, finding the perfect one can be a difficult and confusing process. Thinking in terms of the three avenues I discussed above can help make your search more organized and streamlined. Let us know any other strategies that have worked for you below!

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and graduated from Northeastern with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in September. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. You can reach her at p.dowd@neu.edu

What the Heck is an Informational Interview?

why are people willing to talk you despite their busy schedule? 1. They're paying it forward. 2. Most people enjoy talking about themselves (and helping of course) Source: usatodayeducate.com

Why are people willing to talk you despite their busy schedule? They’re paying it forward and most people enjoy talking about themselves (and helping of course).
Source: usatodayeducate.com

You’re a Northeastern student, full of vim and vigor and enthusiasm for the future. You’ve got classes and co-ops under your belt, and you feel prepared for the working world. But if you’re like most students, you haven’t discovered one of the most potent secrets of career success. What is this magical secret, you wonder? It’s a little something called “informational interviewing.”

What is Informational Interviewing?

It’s only the most useful career-building tool you’ll encounter. The basic gist is that you will reach out to professionals in the industry and set up interviews with them. Instead of the interviews you’re used to, YOU will be the one asking the questions! It’s the best way to network and gain insider industry knowledge at the same time! And your mom thought you were useless at multitasking! Oh how wrong she was.

The Power of Asking

There are two secrets why informational interviews work.

  • People love to talk about themselves.
  • People love to help college students.

At first, I was skeptical. Who would take time out from their busy schedule to shoot the

source: resumebaking.com

source: resumebaking.com

breeze with a bumbling college student who barely knows what to do with her life after graduation? I reached out to professionals at ten different companies, expecting to bug them a week later in an attempt to set up two or three meetings if I was lucky. Au contraire! To my surprise, almost everyone replied immediately! And they wanted to help me!

You’ve probably heard this statistic before: 80% of job openings are unlisted, and are filled through word of mouth. With those kinds of odds, how can you afford not to network? Informational interviewing is a great way to start. Stay tuned for more blog entries on how I went through the process myself, and I’ll teach you how to do it too!

Amy Annette Henion is a senior communications major with minors in theatre and East Asian studies. She basically lives in the theatre department office on the first floor of Ryder. Follow/tweet her at @amyannette37 and read her blog here.

Print Isn’t Dead

source: www.mediamill.tt

source: www.mediamill.tt

This guest post for The Works was written by Erica Thompson, a recent journalism graduate from NU who is currently working as a Copy Editor at the Boston Globe.

“Print is dead,” said my journalism professor in our first lecture freshman year. “Get out while you can.”

The harsh advice wasn’t exactly how I planned to start my five years at Northeastern, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t leave a lasting impression. While print media has taken a serious hit in our primarily digital world, I’ve discovered that calling the newspaper industry “dead” is nothing but a hasty generalization.

So despite the discouraging words, I stuck with journalism, as I encourage those currently in the major to do, too. It’s tough, undoubtedly. Finding sources to contact and explaining yourself as a “student” journalist isn’t like writing a 10-page research paper or studying for an accounting exam; it’s a different kind of mental discipline.

But it was worth every 3 a.m. haze in Snell, every moment of panic that I didn’t credit a source correctly, and every snippy critique from a fellow student—not just because it made me a stronger writer (and person), but because I, along with most of my former classmates, got a job after graduation.

source: fyeahjournalismmajorcamel.tumblr.com

source: fyeahjournalismmajorcamel.tumblr.com

And it wasn’t by happenstance. I graduated Northeastern in May 2013 and, like many other journalism majors, completed three co-ops that really set the stage for my job search. While co-op provided me (as I’m sure it did for others) with experience, writing clips, and the day-to-day skills necessary to be successful in a job, the connections I made and the networking that took place during co-op were an equally large component to successfully landing interviews and actually getting a job offer.

Without a doubt, the journalism industry has definitely seen a struggle, and the number of jobs is not as high as a field like business or nursing. But as a Northeastern alumnus, having contacts through co-op is the key to getting your foot in the door.

The notion of “co-op connections” is something I only came to appreciate after I graduated, and something I wish I had been more conscious of while working. As much as the co-op department stresses the idea of networking, work becomes routine and it’s easy to forget that in six months, you won’t be sitting at that same desk, with those same people.

But being able to reach out to former colleagues, especially in a competitive field like journalism, is the difference between sending your resume into the black abyss of Mediabistro, and obtaining the direct e-mail of the hiring manager for a certain position. And, most importantly, the connections made on co-op extend beyond just the company you’ve worked for. It’s the connections current employees have with other companies, which opens up double, if not triple, the doors for post-grads.

Treasure that. It’s the most unique part of being a Husky, particularly in the field of journalism. And don’t give up on the industry. Just because it’s changing doesn’t mean it’s dead.

Erica Thompson graduated from Northeastern in May 2013 as a journalism major with a minor in public policy. She currently works as a Copy Editor at The Boston Globe, where she co-oped twice. She can be reached at erica.thompson@globe.com or on Twitter, @EricaThompson_

Social Media Tips For Job Searchers

Cant. Stop. Pinning.

Cant. Stop. Won’t. Stop. Pinning.

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works. Follow her blog here and/or tweet her @lindseygsampson.

Co-op application time is upon us – it’s time to get nervous, people. This time of the semester is also a great time to work on your professional appearance. Make new business cards. Update your LinkedIn like it’s no big thing. Social media is a powerful tool for the modern professional. It is connecting people around the world like never before, and rocking it on social media can be a huge asset to your career.

Twitter

Start strong. You know how embarrassed you get when you look back at your old e-mail addresses and usernames? guitarchix, beachbabe88, the list goes on and on. So spare fellow Tweeters the embarrassment and keep it simple on Twitter. The ideal Twitter handle? Your name. Just your name.

Tweet at everyone. Retweets are important for getting your name out there as an authority on a particular subject. So don’t just Tweet links — they look spammy and won’t create much noise. Pull out a short quote from the article to increase RTs, and be sure to Tweet at the article or publication. For examples, instead of:

“Cool article.  http://www.fastcoexist.com/node/1682236”

try something like

“S’Well produces a “sleek and clean” reusable water bottle to curb plastic consumption.http://www.fastcoexist.com/node/1682236 via @FastCoExist @swellbottle.”

That’s right, the CEO of S’Well Bottle just followed you. Why? Because you’re awesome.

Don’t be a stranger. Follow and interact with mentors, colleagues, and other professionals in your space. It’s okay to establish professional crushes. You know, people who have the job you have always dreamed of? Ask them a question or Tweet an interesting article at them.

Tweet when the world is active and paying attention. 4pm is the most retweeted time of day, so if you only Tweet once, this should be the time.

LinkedIn

Congratulate. Don’t ignore the LinkedIn updates that notify you when your contact has a new job. A job transition like this is the perfect opportunity to catch up with a contact. A quick LinkedIn message keeps you at the top of your contact’s mind. You don’t have to stay up to date on the intricate details of their life, but a quick congratulatory message can be a powerful tool in strengthening your network.

Source: socialappshq.com

Source: socialappshq.com

Facebook

Just keep it classy. Facebook is one of the largest social media outlets, and future employers will definitely check you out before hiring. While some people use Facebook strategically to build their businesses and professional brands, many use Facebook solely for personal use. Whatever you use Facebook for, avoid albums full of blurry drunk pictures and passive-aggressive status updates. We’re no longer twelve and that is not cute.

You don’t have to be a social media whiz and you don’t have to have hours every day to rock it on social media. Put your best and truest self out into the world of social media and you will attract people with similar interests and values. So get out there!

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and/or tweet her @lindseygsampson.

How To Rock The Career Fair

Source:  blog.vodafone.com.au

Source: blog.vodafone.com.au

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Career fairs are all about being remembered. You bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to a company and you deserve to be remembered. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in sticking out among a sea of candidates.

Create An Elevator Pitch: Maybe you’re sick of people telling you to make an elevator pitch (or maybe you’re sick of other, more detestable things like slow walkers and paying back student loans). An elevator pitch is crucial at career fairs, where time is limited and attention spans are short. An elevator pitch allows you to communicate your best self in the shortest amount of time (about the amount of time you spend in an elevator awkwardly clearing your throat and avoiding eye contact with strangers, hence the name). Make sure to include the following:

1. Your name

2. What you are studying/where your skills lie

3. What your background is in, especially if it’s different from your major

4. What you are interested in

5. A tidbit about the company. This shows that you know the company and you did your research. Employers don’t want to waste their time, and this lets them know that you came prepared because that’s just how great you are.

Resumes: Speaking of coming prepared, let’s talk resumes. Don’t bring one. Don’t bring five. Bring at least fifteen, depending on the size of the fair and the number of companies you are interested in (you should look at the list of participating companies beforehand).

talk about unique Source: badgercareerbuzz.blogspot.com

talk about unique
Source: badgercareerbuzz.blogspot.com

Make Yourself Memorable: Once you have an employer’s attention, make your conversation memorable, but don’t draw it out. A short but interesting conversation is more likely to stick out in an employer’s head than a long but fruitless conversation. You don’t have to mention every interesting thing you’ve ever done, but mention at least one thing they can remember about you — where your last co-op was, an interesting class you took last semester. Maybe start with “last summer I completed an internship in customer relations and communications and I taught myself basic HTML.” This can be part of your elevator pitch. You are different and super interesting, so give employers a glimpse into how awesome you are.

Get A Business Card: It’s like getting a rose on The Bachelor – it’s the whole point. Getting a business card from a potential employer is your ticket forward in the hiring process for this company. Be sure to send a quick email after the fair (preferably that same evening or the morning after) to follow up and restate your enthusiasm for the company. Avoid sending a vague, fill-in-the-blank email – zero people will remember who you are if they get an email saying, “I loved meeting you last night.” Employers will only remember you if you make them remember you. Mention something you talked about during the fair (this will be helpful if you followed Tip #3 – just saying).

Provide Value: Another quick tip about follow-up emails. It’s important to provide value so employers don’t feel they’re doing you such a favor. Send along an article you read this morning: “It was great talking to you yesterday about how your new company blog. I read this article today about the growing importance of content marketing in your industry and thought you might find it interesting.”

Remember: Employers aren’t at career fairs to judge you. They are there to recognize talent and attract great candidates. So don’t worry if your first conversation isn’t perfect – start by talking to your “B list” to get warmed up then by the end of the night you will be talking to your dream company like a pro.

 

PwC’s Top 5 Tips to Career Fair Success

Killing it at the Career Fair!

Killing it at the Career Fair!
souce: northeastern.edu

This guest post was written by Gillian Orsburn, a Campus Recruiter for PwC and frequent Career Fair attendee.

As a Northeastern student, words like “career,” “co-op,” and “networking” likely make their way into your daily conversations.  While planning the next phase of your professional life can be exciting, sometimes the sheer quantity of events and opportunities can seem overwhelming.  With Northeastern’s Career Fair coming up on Thursday, October 3rd here are some tips to help narrow down the options and stand out amongst the competition:

  1. Do the research. You don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’d like to work at so and so” and land the internship. You need to make sure you devote the appropriate time and effort to getting to know the companies you are interested in and understanding your options.  Talk to your friends, family, career advisors, upper-classmen and faculty to learn more about the industries and firms you’d be best suited for.  Doing research will not only help you leave a good impression but also help you pursue a good fit.
  1. Find a friend to be your mirror. Ask an honest friend, one who is genuinely interested in your success, to evaluate the first impression you give. At a career fair you should always dress in a professional business suit; have the friend look at the suit front and back, up and down – looking for lint, a tag sticking out, too many buttons unbuttoned, etc – to ensure you are dressed appropriately.  Ask the friend to shake your hand (should be a firm, quick handshake), listen as you say your name (make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and you have fresh breath!), and assess your pitch (should be rehearsed but also specific to how your experiences align with the company needs).
  1. Speaking of your pitch, you will need to know your personal brand. Someone who knows and maximizes their strengths. Someone who contributes a unique and valuable ingredient to their team. When you’re developing yourself at school and seeking to make your next professional move, you must be fully aware of your own unique qualities and demonstrate them consistently in everything you do.  Even though your top strengths are only a few of many facets of your personal brand, they are absolutely vital to reaching your goals. When working on a class project, looking for an internship or pursuing a first job out of school, you need to actively integrate your greatest strengths.
  1. Be prepared to hand over your resume.  All that free stuff given out at company tables can be great…until you no longer have hands for handshakes or the ability to easily find or grasp your resume.  Given the amount of students at each career fair, every second is valuable to a recruiter.  Make sure you have your hands ready and your resume is easily accessible.  Try speaking to all your target companies first, then go around at the end for the free stuff.
  1. Ask good questions and make yourself memorable, but be aware of the line of students behind you.  Make sure you show off your main skills and experience and ask your burning questions, but remember there are students behind you who want to do the same.  Take a few short minutes with the recruiting team, then ask for a business card to follow up later in the week with any additional information or questions.

For more tips on starting on your personal brand journey as you get ready to launch your career, participate in PwC’s personal brand experience by visiting our website at www.pwc.com/us/personalbrand 

pwc-logo

PwC (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax, and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 169,000 people in 158 countries across our network share their thinking, experience, and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

The Career Fair – It’s Not Just for Seniors

Linda Yu is a senior majoring in International Business and minoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Finance. She has completed two co-ops within a financial management firm in Boston, MA and London, UK. She has studied abroad in Spain, Ireland, and England. Follow/tweet her at @lindayu925.

I have always been the type of person that gets nervous when meeting new people. It can be quite ironic how I am enrolled in business school because I’m a big introvert, the exact opposite of what business schools encourage you to be. So when I heard about the Fall Career Fair, the bigger of the two general career fairs that Northeastern Career Services hosts, I immediately disregarded the opportunity. At the time, I was a sophomore and on the search for my first co-op. The Career Fair didn’t matter to me because I already had everything figured out. I had extensively researched the companies I wanted to work for and networking didn’t seem necessary. I was planning on nailing the interviews and getting the job.

I asked myself: “Why not? What can I possibly lose?” There was always the chance of humiliating myself but I knew I had to let go of that someday. So I put on my best suit, a pair of shiny pumps, took out my portfolio into which I inserted 20 copies of my resume, and headed off to Cabot Cage.

Image from www.campusrec.neu.edu

Upon arrival, Career Services provided me with a detailed list of employers and their exact locations (I encourage you to research the companies in advance, you can find

the company list here).

Yes, it was crowded but not unmanageable. Students and alumni were constantly leaving and arriving. There was a room where students could get organized. I followed the map and went straight to the companies I wanted to work for. The extensive research I conducted proved to be both useful and useless at the same time. Employers were impressed with how much I knew about their company. However, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the company until I spoke to someone that actually worked there. The information I received from employers made me realize that from my original target list, I truly only wanted to work for less than half of the companies. This saved me time and spared my co-op coordinator many headaches.

I explored the fair further and talked to companies that I was interested in but didn’t know too much about. Whether there were internships, full time positions, rotational programs, or co-op positions, the companies there had so much to offer! It was interesting to me how companies in the same industry often had different selling points and I was able to gain exposure to various industries. Initially, the Career Fair made me queasy but it turned out to be fun and informative.

A week after the fair, my co-op advisor called me and told me that a top 20 company within the Fortune 500 wanted to interview me after they met me at the career fair. I was so surprised that they remembered me from the hundreds of students they had met that day. I went to the interview and a day later found out that I got the job! I was gloating while my friends were still searching for their co-ops. I guess they really should have gone to the Career Fair!

Image from Northeastern.edu

After completing 2 co-ops within a financial management company in Boston and in London, I now know that my reasons for fearing the career fair never really end. You are always expected to market yourself, to network with other people and companies, and to constantly learn. Some people will love the process and others will hate it. Some people will be better at this than others. For me, I guess the question to always ask yourself is “Why not? What can I possibly lose?”

Pro Perspectives: Financial Consulting at Deloitte

Deloitte logo_1Student Interviewer: Arun Punjabi

Professional Interviewee: Patrick Kumf, Senior Associate in Financial Advisory Services

Company: Deloitte

As a 3rd year student in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, double majoring in Business Administration and Economics, I seized the opportunity to interview Patrick Kumf, a Senior Associate within Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to not only gain exposure to the career path that he chose, but to seek advice from a successful professional who has been through the same collegiate recruiting process that I am going through. I am currently co-oping at Deloitte Consulting LLP as a Business Analyst, specializing in the Mergers & Acquisitions service line, with an industry focus on Consumer Products and Retail. After the interview, there was no question that the conversations we had were invaluable, both from a learning and professional stand-point.

Arun Punjabi (AP): Can you tell me a little about your current career path and how you came to be at your job?

Patrick Kumf (PK): I’m currently a Senior Associate within Business Valuation at Deloitte FAS.  I graduated with a degree in Economics from Trinity College. I originally joined Deloitte’s Auditing department, but quickly realized that really wasn’t for me.

Patrick continued to explain how after realizing that auditing was not one of his interests or core competencies, he found his niche within the Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, a selective and relatively small business unit of Deloitte that focuses heavily on business valuation and numerical analysis. Due to the cross-functional nature of Deloitte LLP (parent company), Patrick was able to make several connections and work on many projects with professionals in Deloitte Consulting as well as Audit. As for Patrick’s next steps in his career, he intends to leverage his niche skills in business valuation to enter the corporate finance world with a focus on private equity and debt valuation.

AP: What do you do day-to-day as an Senior Associate?

PK: I’m part of multiple projects and teams that range from mid to high performance.  I spend most days managing peers, priorities, and projects.” During busy season, Patrick can work upwards of 75 hours a week.

AP: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting out in this field?

Patrick placed emphasis on networking and communication. Below are his top four pieces of advice

  1. Network
  2. Get referrals
  3. Good recommendations
  4. “Communicate openly and with confidence—don’t be afraid to communicate your issues and interests with your managers.”

AP: What do you find most challenging and most satisfying about your position?

PK: Definitely, figuring out how to prioritize high and low risk projects can sometimes be challenging as well as saying “no” to people to ensure you have a fair work-life balance and focusing on quality over quantity.

He also mentioned time management and how it relates to work-life balance, managing expectations of work and free time as well as people management– “managing people from all walks of life and styles of working can be a challenge”.  In regards to most satisfying, he said there are lots of opportunities for cross-industry work as well as networking opportunities.  He explained that as a Senior Associate you gain economical and mathematical insight into large deals.

AP: If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who wants to be in your position in the future, what would you tell them?

PK: Definitely focus on grades to go to top feeder MBA Schools—Deloitte focuses heavily on recruiting from top academic schools.  And, network effectively and look for opportunities to meet Deloitte professionals, those connections will help you in the long run.

AP: If you had a Husky as a pet, what would you name it?

He went with the name, “Husky” (…haha).

How to Be a Real Person and Other Things I Learned On Co-Op

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Co-op is a unique opportunity that allows you to explore potential career paths, network with professionals at every level, and grow in ways you didn’t think possible. But, real talk time: sometimes learning and expanding your boundaries is hard. Here are a few of the lessons I learned from my first co-op.

1. How to be a real person: For the first month of co-op, I woke up with just enough time to get dressed, scraped myself off of my desk at 5pm and sludged home on the T. Eight

40 hours is harder than I thought.... Source: Frabz.com

40 hours is harder than I thought….
Source: Frabz.com

hours of solid productivity five days a week was exhausting – I never made plans on weekdays except to cook pasta, watch reruns of So You Think You Can Dance, and run into bed. The 40-hour workweek takes some getting used to, but by the end of my first co-op cycle, I was going for morning runs and making dinner plans on Tuesdays like I was somebody. Experience with a real work schedule is such a valuable learning opportunity.

Co-Op Tip: Don’t rush into making tons of plans your first week – you don’t want to get burned out. Take time to figure yourself out and establish a schedule.

2. How to make yourself valuable: It’s hard to make a real, lasting impact when you work two days a week and people keep calling you “intern.” Spending six months at one company during co-op allows you to fully immerse yourself in a department or a group. You find your place and start to learn more about your strengths based on your contributions. I didn’t know creativity and design were strengths I had until I worked on a project creating posters for one of our large events. It takes some time to establish yourself as a valuable member of a team, and working so closely with my department for six months allowed me that experience.

Co-Op Tip: Speak up! Making your voice heard will allow you to make a deeper impression on your employers. Respond to group emails , get involved in meetings, take on leadership roles – don’t just float around in the back unnoticed.

3. Uncommon common knowledge in the workplace: My first week of co-op, I drafted an email proposal to a caterer and re-read it fifty times to make sure it was professional. Invaluable office skills, like being able to write a professional email, fielding phone calls from difficult customers, and learning the ins and outs of client relations, are skills that can only be acquired on the job. Having these skills early sets you apart from other applicants when the time comes to apply for jobs.

Co-Op Tip: You will learn a ton your first week on co-op, so take notes on everything. This will allow you to more fully absorb facts and processes. If you’re feeling wild, combine your notes into a training binder or portfolio for the next co-op because you’re just that kind of thoughtful.

4. Handling different management styles: In the real world, having three six-month jobs in for years is flaky. In college, it’s co-op. Over the course of your four or five years at Northeastern, co-op will likely expose you to several different leadership and management styles, allowing you to be a better leader. Becoming a leader is less like growing a tree and more like building a bird’s nest – constructing a leadership style means collecting diverse lessons and habits from those around you.

Co-Op Tip: Pick up habits from your employers as you go – if something was helpful for you, chances are good that it will be helpful for someone else down the road. If you notice something meaningful about your boss’ communication style or organizational methods, try it out for yourself.

5. How to establish a network: I still get emails and updates from co-workers at my previous co-op. Co-op gives you several opportunities to establish strong relationships with professionals in your field. Don’t end co-op without establishing at least one or two strong professional connections. Just being able to hear about experiences firsthand from other professionals will help you gain valuable insight into your own career.

Co-Op Tip: Take the time to grab lunch or coffee with your managers and co-workers. Ask them questions you have about education, career paths, work, life – anything you want to know. They usually want to help, so let them! If you communicate your career goals, they will be better positioned to help you reach those goals.

Most importantly, take full advantage of co-op. Take the time to learn everything you can while on co-op. Talk to everyone, explore new things, and take on projects outside of your comfort zone. Co-op is an amazing opportunity, so it’s time to grab that bull by the metaphorical horns and get to work.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here.

Get Involved Now to Get Ahead Later

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013. Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013
Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

This article was written by Gabi Valladares, a recent alumna and now Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement on campus as a guest blogger for The Works.

Five years in college can sound like a lifetime to some, but it flies by when you’re on co-op, studying abroad, or participating in a dialogue.  Before you know it, you’ll be out in the “real world” and on the search for a full-time position, along with just about every other college graduate.

Fortunately, Northeastern University has over 300 student organizations that can help with your skill development and aid in preparing you for life after college. Employers value leadership roles and community involvement and look for that experience when vetting candidates. Career Services can help you highlight that experience on your resume. Here are just a few of the ways you can get involved on campus and ahead of your job market competition:

1. Take on an executive position.  

If you are involved with a student organization and feel that you’re ready to take on a leadership role, run for a position on the executive board!  This will provide you with great leadership training, which is often something employers ask about during interviews.  You will also feel more comfortable having had this experience when you’re asked to take lead on a project or partnership in the future.

2. Represent your student organization at networking and on campus events. 

The Center for Student Involvement, along with other offices and departments around campus, often host events that showcase the student organizations we have here at Northeastern University.  If you can work a few of these events into your schedule each year, we highly suggest representing your group during one of them.  This will help not only in increasing your numbers, but will also provide you with the opportunity to practice “pitching” your organization to potential members and partnering organizations.  Networking is a major part of finding a new job and connecting with those in your field, so we suggest getting some networking practice while you’re still in school.

3. Partner with other student groups and committees around campus. 

In most companies or organizations, you will be working within a team.  Whether you are a part of a small team or leading a large group, it is always important to have teamwork skills under your belt.  Sometimes, this means branching out from your typical comfort zone and connecting with other student groups that have similar missions and/or purposes.  Partnerships can be formed for any number of reasons, but we often see groups working together to co-host events.

4. Attend a conference with your student organization. 

Depending on what type of group you are involved with on campus, there could be any number of conferences or seminars that might be applicable to your organization.  Test out your leadership and networking skills by taking your organization to one of these events.  You’ll probably end up attending at least a few more of these throughout your professional career and we all know that being prepared can’t hurt!

Of course, these are only a few of the ways that your involvement with activities and student organizations can help you develop your professional skills.  Keep an open mind and always be on the lookout for experiences that will benefit you long after your college graduation.

Gabi Valladares is the Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement.  As a recent Northeastern University alumna, she is ecstatic to be (once again) joining the University full-time.  To find out more about how you can get involved on campus, follow/tweet Gabi and the Center for Student Involvement on @434CSC.