Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Co-op

Before You Leave

Your co-op may be winding down or you may be gearing up for a second term. In either case you have the opportunity to make a positive lasting impression on your employer that can be impactful for your career. Here are five tips on how to make the most of your experience:

1. Make connections and stay connected through LinkedIn

Be very, very vigilant about connecting on LinkedIn after every new face-to-face interaction. A short thank you or kind note to co-workers and supervisors will help to build a robust social network on LinkedIn. Every time you get a business card—assuming you still get paper business cards—enter the person’s information into your contacts and reach out to that person on LinkedIn. Also, asking for recommendations on LinkedIn is a great way to get the most out of your connections on the job.

2. Complete all of your projects

Make sure anything you have outstanding is completed and that you have returned all materials and proprietary information to your employer. Tie up loose ends neatly and make sure projects are submitted in a polished, professional manner.

3. Ask for feedback

Ask for a brief face to face meeting with your supervisor to go over your co-op evaluation and receive feedback on how you performed on the job. Asking for feedback will help you to grow professionally and shows you have an interest in the work you did.

4. Don’t forget your co-op work report!

Make sure you complete your co-op work report. Don’t get an ‘F’ on your transcript because you put off completing the report. Get it done before you leave the co-op. Check with your career services coordinator or look on your department website to see if you need to complete a report and how to submit it, and to whom.

5. Ask about the evaluation

Follow up with your supervisor to make sure they have received, completed and submitted their evaluation. The evaluation is part of your grade so it is critical that it be done. Don’t leave without following up on this as it is sometimes difficult to track people down once you have left. If they have not received it or it may have gone to the wrong person just call us! We can resend it.

6. Update your resume

While it’s fresh in your mind update your resume. Use your job description to highlight the various things you did. Add any accomplishments or new skills you’ve acquired.            

7.  Say ‘Thank You’

Saying thanks goes a long way. End on a positive note by thanking your supervisor as well as your co-workers for taking time to train, mentor and answer your questions.

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