Master’s Students Get Early Start on Job, Internship Readiness at Career Boot Camp

Students take part in a resume and cover letter working during the McCormick Master's Career Boot Camp.

Amy Merrill’s first class on the Northwestern campus wasn’t for her master’s program in civil and environmental engineering.

It was in resume writing, interviewing strategies, and networking.

In an afternoon workshop last week hosted by the McCormick Office of Career Development, Merrill and other students discussed the finer points of resumes and cover letters – down to the spacing, salutations, and signatures.

“It’s nice to have other eyes looking over your resume,” Merrill said. “And it’s nice to make contacts and have people to come to for help.”

Merrill was one of 75 newly arrived master’s students who got a jump-start on their internship and job searches with the McCormick Master’s Career Boot Camp. The two afternoon sessions were offered last Tuesday and Thursday in the Ford Engineering Design boot camp

Turnout for the sessions was far higher than usual, said Helen Oloroso, assistant dean of the Co-op and Internship Program and director of the McCormick Office of Career Development. That may be because students are faced with job-hunting in a difficult economy, she said, and also because they are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of landing a good internship.

“The message is really getting out to post-secondary students,” Oloroso said, “that they have to have relevant industry experience in order to be considered by employers when they get to graduation.”

Most engineering companies do their recruiting in the fall, Oloroso said, so it’s vital to get started early.

Students in the Boot Camp learned more than resumes and cover letters. They received tips on how to navigate various types of interviews, such as second-round, panel, and case interviews, and were given a chance to practice networking with one another at a closing reception.

“They learned the essential, tactical tools that they need for engaging in this immediate job search process,” Oloroso said.

The Boot Camp is just one of the services offered by the McCormick Office of Career Development. Upcoming programs include seminars on cross-cultural communication with U.S. employers, the use of social media in the job search, negotiations, and confidentiality agreements. A variety of workshops are also offered throughout the year on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and career fair preparation.

For more information about these and other events, visit the McCormick Office of Career Development website.