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Students FAQs

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Who is eligible to register for Engineering Cooperative Education & Career Services, and how can I register?
Any Engineering student, Freshman through PhD, are eligible to use our office and there is no registration necessary. Stop on by 201 Carpenter Hall during our office hours M - F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm or call us to schedule an appointment at 255-5006.

What do employers look for in a résumé?
Employers look at your past performance to make decisions about your ability to do a job. They look for specific and concrete examples of accomplishments and skills gained from your work experiences and activities. When you have completed a serious draft, you may wish to have Engineering Cooperative Education & Career Services staff perform a résumé critique.

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Should I put my GPA on my résumé?
GPA is one of many criteria employers consider when examining your résumé; it can be a reference point when deciding how to screen through a large number of résumés. Unfortunately, when GPA is not listed on a technical résumé, the employer will often assume it to be very low and may not consider the individual for an interview. GPA is often emphasized for positions in research, design, and development, and certain employers or industries may also stress GPA. For positions in sales, marketing and manufacturing, employers may place less emphasis on GPA in favor of interpersonal, communication, leadership, and motivational skills. However, it should be no surprise that all technical employers expect candidates to demonstrate technical and quantitative competency skills.

  • Generally, you may want to state a GPA if it is 2.7 or above.
  • If your Field GPA significantly exceeds your cumulative GPA, consider listing both.
  • You may prefer to list a cumulative GPA, then provide a breakout by year or semester if an unusual personal event or circumstance affected your overall GPA.
  • Some students have even graphed this information for use in the interview.

Where can I get information about specific employers that are recruiting on campus?
All students who are currently registered with CCNet will automatically receive a customized list of employers and job descriptions, based upon individual eligibility qualifications according to major/minor, degree, graduation date, and legal work authorization. Each company’s Web site is also directly linked to its job description.

Additional online directories include:

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What should I wear to an information session?
Employer information sessions are usually held the night before the interviews but sometimes may occur weeks in advance. They provide an opportunity to learn more about the employer and its culture in an informal atmosphere. Business-casual attire is usually appropriate: slacks/nice shirt and/or sweater (a tie or jacket are not necessary) for men, and a smart-but-comfortable skirt/blouse or pants-suit for women.

How can I prepare for an interview?
To prepare for your interview, you need first to understand your own skills and interests as they pertain to the particular job, function, industry, or employer and know the employer! You may then review employer job descriptions, websites, and attend employer information sessions on campus. You may find key individuals, such as faculty or alumni, to be a nice addition in your quest for information. The important point is to make sure you do prepare for every interview.

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What do I do if I must cancel an interview? Will I be penalized for missing an interview?
Employers have online access to their schedule at least 48 hours in advance of their on-campus visit. That means, if you are scheduled to interview, they are expecting you to show up at your designated time. Most of the recruiters spend time reviewing your résumé and preparing for your interview. A last-minute cancellation can cause unexpected frustration. If you cannot attend or if you elect to cancel an interview, please notify Engineering Cooperative Education & Career Services at your earliest convenience by phone, e-mail, or in person, not less that 24 hours before your interview (or noon on Friday before a Monday interview). Last minute cancellations are unacceptable; see below.

No Shows:
Failure to honor an interview appointment that you have scheduled without at least 24-hour notice of cancellation is considered by all parties to be a serious breach of courtesy and ethics. No-shows are unacceptable and are subject to the policy below.

The first unexcused "no-show" absence or late cancellation incident requires a meeting with the career center staff and a written explanation to the corporate representative (with a copy to the career center) before the student is permitted to continue in the interview process. A second "no-show" or late cancellation, regardless of the reason, will result in forfeiture of future interviews scheduled through the career center for a determined length of time and possibly for the remainder of the recruiting season.

How can I determine whether my salary offer is competitive?
If you think your offer is not competitive, you might first ask the employer whether salary is negotiable. The employer may claim no room for negotiation or may ask what you feel is a fair offer.

Here are some possible reasons to negotiate a salary offer:

  • The offer may not be competitive with those of most graduates having background similar to yours.
  • You may have specialized experience beyond that of other entry-level candidates.
  • You may have received a higher offer with another employer that is of secondary interest.
  • High cost-of-living for a specific city may warrant salary negotiation, but the popularity of certain high-cost cities (San Francisco, Boston, New York) may override your bargaining power.

It is important to compare offers among organizations of roughly similar size and industry for similar regions of the country; you may gain nothing in comparing a salary offer for a small, rural midwestern engineering firm with that of a large Wall Street investment bank. In any case, you should know the prevailing salary statistics for your field and degree level and should negotiate only when you feel your offer is not competitive—not simply to secure a higher starting salary. Each year Engineering Cooperative Education & Career Services compiles a list of salaries by major and degree from a survey of previous-year graduates.

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