When starting to look for your co-op, Northeastern has several resources you can take advantage of so you don’t get lost in what can sometimes be an overwhelming process. One of those resources includes a 1 credit mandatory course where you will learn the practical skills of how to format resumes, prepare for interviews, and write cover letters. The tips below are some to add to this class that will give you a better understanding of what to expect as you embark on your first co-op search!
1.Set up a meeting with your co-op advisor at the beginning of the semester
It’s important to hit the ground running and to start creating a personal relationship with your Co-Op Advisor. They will ultimately be the one that will give you access to the Northeastern Job Board known as NUCareers and they also have many contacts within and outside of Northeastern’s career network so having a good, strong relationship with them can only benefit you. Also, talking with your advisor can help you to better narrow down what you are looking for in your first co-op, whether it be in a small or large work environment, fast or slow-paced, all of these aspects of your co-op your advisor can help you to refine for when you start applying.
2. Go Through NUCareers Once a Week
Once your co-op advisor gives you access to the NUCareers Employment portal, start looking through job postings at least once a week. The positions posted on this portal are exclusive to Northeastern students and will all qualify for a legitimate co-op position. Through the portal you can also refine searches to different locations, whether domestic or global, and by subject/career interest. Jobs are constantly posted and updated on this site so going on frequently will give you the best chance of keeping up to date with all potential positions.
3. Go to Information Sessions and Mock Interviews
Northeastern will host at least 5 Information Sessions for your college of study, which are highly recommended to gain a better understanding of what employers are looking for in their employees. These Information Sessions work like employer panels, 5-6 Boston organizations will come to Northeastern for an afternoon where they will give an overview of their company and what they look for in their ideal candidate. After this, they will open up the session to questions from the audience. Coming prepared with a few questions when you attend these panels will allow you to get the most out of these sessions and will help you create a more informed picture of what the professional world expects from you.
Northeastern also provides several Mock Interview opportunities where you will get the chance to practice your interview skills with a real person. These test-run interviews are incredibly helpful in showing you where your strengths and areas of improvement are in terms of interviewing, which is great information to have before going on your first real interview. You will also have the chance to wear your business attire and get feedback on whether or not it would fly in a professional setting.
4. Stay calm, You Will Get a Co-op
One of the biggest stresses for people when applying to co-ops the first time is when their friends start getting interviews and they haven’t yet. The stress that you might be stuck in classes when your friends are going off to experience the world sets in and people often fall into a rut of anxiety and worry. But coming from experience, you will get a co-op. There are some employers who don’t start interviewing until mid-November and there are other employers who won’t give you a decision until end of November. There are so many factors that go into an employers decision and why you may be delayed in receiving interviews, but the best thing for you to do is to stay calm and know that employers will contact you, it might just be on their own time. Everyone’s experience is incredibly different so even though its hard, its best to not compare yourself to your friends.
5. In-Person Interviews are Ideal, But Don’t Stress About Skype or Phone Interviews.
If you are given the option to have an in-person interview with a potential employer and its doable for you to travel to where they are, try your best to meet them. Impressions in-person are very strong and show you have initiative and are dedicated to this position. That being said, if an employer is out-of-state, Skype or phone call interviews are completely acceptable and very standard. If you do receive an invitation for an electronic interview, make sure your Skype username is official and up and running, and also ensure that you have a professional voicemail message in case you miss their call.
6. Go to Interviews Prepared
When you get an interview, make sure that you show up to the interview having done thorough research on what the organization does and what your position would entail. It is very likely that during your interview the employer will ask you what interests you most about working for them or what about the position is the most exciting to you, so it is very important that you are able to speak to those topics. It’s also crucial that you have at least a few questions prepared to ask them, these show that you are genuinely intrigued about this position and want to learn more. It’s also a plus to have a few extra resumes on hand in case the interviewer has misplaced their copy this shows you have come prepared.
Keep these tips in mind as you go through your co-op experience and just remember to breathe when things seem to be hectic or getting a little crazy, I can assure you everything will work out!