Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Working at Startup Companies

Periscope. Tarte Cosmetics. Sweet Leaf Tea. Buzzfeed.

If you’re wondering what these companies who create and supply completely different products could possibly have in common, the answer is that they all began as startups, and have blossomed into booming business ventures. While being employed at a startup at its inception can be a bit risky, they are often worth the rewards. Here is some general information about working for startups as both a co-op student and full-time employee alike.

·         Startups are generally fairly small. As an intern or professional, you may have several duties within your initial position. You’ll gain expertise in a variety of fields related to the company, and while that may increase your workload, you will obtain diverse transferable skills.
·         There are opportunities for ownership in the company. Since it is just beginning to expand, you may be able to purchase a fair amount of stock in the company, or be eligible for leadership roles sooner rather than later.
·         You’ll be working with the latest innovative technology. Startups have to rely on advanced communication and marketing methods, solid business models, and products that solve problems that may not have been approachable in the past. Therefore, startup employees may be some of the first people to ever use a certain kind of software or programming language. They have the chance to be creative right from the get-go and discover how to fix any flaws in the products at hand.
·         Personal growth and promotion are inevitable. You will be a part of a smaller team that allows for equitable division of work and thus many chances to promote your own skills as you advance within the company and overall as a professional. Experience at a successful startup can put your resume at the top of the pile.  
·         It is important to educate yourself about a startup company’s goals and practices prior to accepting a position. offers free online classes on various topics related to working in these non-traditional environments. The classes are relatively short and come directly from leaders in the startup field. Look into these courses and use them to research the specifics of companies you’re interested in—know who and what to look for at interviews and in the workplace.
·         Keep your resume updated and note any side projects. Have you developed a website for a friend’s business? Did you create an app for a class? Any personal projects through which you have gained skills that will be useful at a startup are important to note; they show creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication!

For more information on the startup industry, and resources for finding jobs at startups, check out Startup Companies:Information & Resources on the RIT Career Services site.

By Hayley Johnson, Graduate Intern, RIT Office of Career Services

Friday, April 1, 2016

Employers, April is Autism Acceptance Month!

Many of us already know someone on the Autism Spectrum (US Census Bureau estimates that 7 million Americans are closely related to someone on the Spectrum). All of us can take action to advocate for individuals on the Spectrum in the workplace, and many individuals find April, Autism Awareness Month, and natural time to engage in education and advocacy at their places of employment.
Here are some suggested activities for you and your workplace:

Education: Become informed on the benefits of hiring individuals on the Spectrum and steps that your organization can take to become more ASD-inclusive. Our video, Hiring on the Spectrum, is a great place to start. Visit our Recruiting students with disabilities page or Spectrum Support Program page for more information. You can also download our Hiring on the Spectrum Employer Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders. RIT is also available to provide training for your organization on recruitment, hiring, and supervisory strategies for those working with someone on the Autism Spectrum.

Community Engagement:  Support ASD organizations by becoming a corporate sponsor or designating them the beneficiary of corporate fundraising efforts. Volunteer for or attend local events ASD-related as a group. AutismUp is a Rochester-based organization; a list of organizations by state is available here.

Connect with individuals: Lend your expertise to job-seekers on the Spectrum. RIT Career Services regularly holds networking events for students on the Autism Spectrum to connect with professionals and is always looking for mentors. Consider hosting a group of job seekers on the Autism Spectrum to your organization for a tour and networking session. Contact for more information, and follow along on Twitter - #AcceptanceIs.

Written by
Janine Rowe, MSEd., NCC

Career Counselor | Assistant Director of Disability Services
RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Career Fair is Over. Now What?

Tips From The Career Services And Co-op Office On How To Keep The Momentum Going!

  • Follow up! The contact list of employers from the Fair will be available soon at the Co-op Office. If there is an employer you want to connect with but did not get their information you can come to the office and get it (provided the employer agreed to release their information). Send an email to the companies that you are MOST interested in to follow up; always attach a current resume whenever you email a company. Be sure you complete a profile as well as apply to posted positions on the employer career’s link. Keep checking Job Zone as many of these same employers will post positions.
  • If you had an interview – it is essential to write a thank you note! Send the thank you email within 24 hours.  Reiterate your interest in the position and restate your most outstanding qualification for that particular employer.
  • Connect with employers on LinkedIn. Once you have connected, stay in touch with them.  Be careful to stay in touch with permission.
  • Keep detailed records of companies you spoke with, which positions you applied to, who you spoke with.
  • Practice your interviewing skills! You never know when you may hear from an employer you met at the fair.
  • Never ever ignore an employer call, email or text.  Be professional and return the contact within the work day if possible or early the next work day.

Maybe The Career Fair Wasn’t Quite As Successful For You As You Had Hoped It Would Be

What should you be doing now to find a position?  Don’t give up, below are the suggestions.

  • Job Zone  Keep checking our website 2x a week for new listings.
  • Other Sites &  Use your major as the keyword.  If you are looking for a co-op add “intern” to your major.  Many companies call the jobs” internships”.  As long as they are paid, full-time and the work is related to your major, it will be counted as a co-op. Your friends aren’t using these outside websites to find places to apply.  Use them and get ahead of the competition.
  • Apply to Everything Do not be picky about location or company.  Many employers assist with housing. Don’t worry that you don’t have every skill on the job listing. For a co-op search, you want to send at least 75 resumes.
  • Network  Be sure you have a LinkedIn Profile. Connect with employers and alumni who may be able to give job leads.  LinkedIn also has a job listing database to search for potential opportunities. Join a club or engineering society to reach out and network with employers.
  • Volunteer You never know who you might meet.