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How to Find a Co-op

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Finding a co-op can often be a daunting task for Northeastern students doing it for the first time. This article is meant to help provide information on the co-op process and act as a hub for advice on finding a co-op.

Co-op Class

All majors offer a 1-credit class typically taken during the semester before a student goes on co-op to help prepare them as they search for a co-op. It is typically taught by a member of the co-op advising office with the help of a peer mentor. Key aspects of the class include teaching you how to use NUWorks (the Northeastern co-op job board), reviewing your resume and giving best practices, and doing mock interviews to help prepare you. It is also a good way to regularly connect with an advisor and other students for tips and advice.

NUWorks

NUWorks is the Northeastern job board, used primarily for co-ops but it also has some full-time positions listed for after you graduate. Your co-op class will walk you through the process to create a profile and upload your resume on the site. This can be done by clicking on your profile picture in the top right, and select either "My Profile" or "My Documents".

If you click on "Jobs" on the top bar, you can access the job postings. You can search for keywords using the search bar, and you can applying filters on the type of position and location with the options below the search bar.

NUWorks is probably the easiest way to apply for a co-op, as most applications only require you to click a button the job posting page which sends the recruiter your resume. More rarely, positions may require you to also apply on their company website, or to upload additional documents such as a cover letter or transcript. However, this also means that it may be more competitive to find a role. Expect to hear back only from a small proportion of the positions you apply for on NUWorks.

LinkedIn and Other Job Boards

Career Fairs

Preparing for Interviews

Interviews can often be a stressful experience, but being well prepared can help make them more manageable.

General Preparation Tips

"Elevator Pitch" - Many interviews start with the interviewer asking a question similar to "Tell me about yourself." This is a good opportunity to give a ~30 second introduction where you briefly explain what you're studying, your experience, and potentially why you're a good fit for the role. Make sure to rehearse this ahead of time.

"Do you have any questions?" - At the end of the interview, it is common for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions for them. Always make sure to have some questions ready for them. It is recommended that you ask some questions that show your interest in the company and knowledge of it, such as asking about a recent piece of company news or how the company approaches certain problems. You can also use this time to learn more about the role and the company culture, ask about next steps in the interview process, and ask logistical questions such as remote work status or pay ranges.

Thank You Note - No later than 24 hours after the interview, make sure to email a brief thank you note to each person who interviewed you. Make sure to thank them for their time, mention specific parts of the interview to help them remember you, and offer to answer any questions they might still have.

Interview Types

Phone Interview

It is common for companies to do screening interview over the phone before the main interview. These interviews tend to be shorter and less formal, and are usually more conversational in nature.

Behavioral

Behavioral interviews are common across many types of positions. Typically, a behavioral interview will take the form of the interviewer asking you several questions with a particular structure to better understand your prior experiences. Some examples include: "Tell me about a time when you solved a problem requiring communication," "Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and how you handled resolving it," or "Tell me about a time when you are under a lot of stress or pressure and how you handled it." The questions are looking for you to answer with a story about a specific past experience of yours. A common format for answering these questions is the STAR format: Briefly explain the Situation you were in, explain the Task that you had to complete, explain the Action that you took, and explain the Resolution that came out of it.

Case Interview

Technical

Advice

Start early! Since you are typically applying for co-ops during an academic semester, it is often less stressful to do it before classes begin to pick up. This also gives you more time in case you are having trouble finding a position, and may help you have less competition for your favorite positions.

Apply often! Many co-op employers do not necessarily expect an applicant to fulfill all of the requirements they list in the posting, but many students get discouraged if they feel they are unqualified for a position. If you are interested in a position but not sure if you are qualified, make sure to still apply as the worst that can happen is that you don't hear back. Also, applying to a larger number of co-ops improves your chances of receiving an interview or offer.

Negotiate! Co-op offers can often be negotiated if you would like to be paid more or have other requests (e.g. remote-only, different working hours). Many students feel intimidated about negotiating after receiving an offer, but there isn't much risk - companies will almost never withdraw an offer after granting it. You are especially in a strong position to negotiate if you have other interviews or offers where you can quote higher pay or benefits.