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Co-op Search Guide
My name is David Morehouse and I am a fourth year combined Mechanical Engineering and Physics major. I am a peer mentor for the College of Engineering, a peer tutor for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and recording secretary for Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society. I have been fortunate enough to have two incredible co-ops at Littelfuse in South Boston and Fikst Product Development in Woburn, MA.
Co-op Search Guide
With the co-op search season rapidly approaching, I am constantly reminded of the search for my first co-op. I remember being amazed (and a little overwhelmed) with the number of job opportunities I had to sort through, being a little stressed about the extra time I needed to commit to preparing for and going to interviews, and, overall, being excited about the new opportunities and the change that would be coming in the spring. As someone searching for their third co-op, there are a few pointers I would like to share that helps me to get through the process:
1. Make a list of whats important to you.
When you are first released on COOL, the shear number of jobs to look through can certainly be overwhelming. Before I'm even released on COOL, I make a list of certain things I'm looking for in a co-op: the size of the company I want to work at, the industries that interest me most, whether or not I want to commute outside of Boston, and the skills I want to develop on the job. After writing down what's important to me, I'm able to sort through all of the jobs and rank them quickly, checking the job descriptions to see what most closely matches my list.
2. Utilize a calendar or planner.
Once resumes are out, it's amazing how quickly companies start getting back to you to set up informational meetings, phone interviews, and in-person interviews. In order to keep track of it all, I keep a Google Calendar updated; as soon as a company calls me, I open it up to check my schedule and make sure I don't double book myself. I also keep track of my classes, homework, and tests on the calendar. This way, if I know I have an exam or a big assignment coming up, I can do my best to schedule interviews and still have time to study or get homework done.
3. Take care of everything early.
As the process happens so fast once resumes are out, its very important to take care of everything you need to early. For me, this includes printing out resumes, references, and portfolios out for interviews as soon as my information has been sent to companies, getting ahead on homework assignments, and doing research on companies before they even call me to schedule an interview. By taking care of things early, the whole process feels much more relaxed, and allows you to focus on getting the jobs that you want.
4. Don't panic!
Though the search can seem a little stressful at times, especially as homework and exams overlap with it, there's never any reason to panic. If a company doesn't get back to you right away, don't worry; every company operates on a different schedule, and might take a longer time getting back to you than you envisioned. If you feel like an interview didn't go well, remember that everyone you interviewed with needed to interview for a job too at some point; they understand that some people can have off days. Finally, if you don't get your top choice for a job, don't get discouraged, and remember that there are hundreds of amazing co-op opportunities. Every job offers something unique, and will give you the chance to meet new people, to learn new things, and develop new skills.
The more you put into the co-op search, and eventually the co-op itself, the more you're going to get out of it. If you use the search as an opportunity to improve your resume and portfolio, improve your time management skills, and to build your interviewing skills, it will pay off tremendously in your next co-op search, and eventually full-time job and graduate school searches.
Happy hunting, and best of luck in the co-op search!