Careers and Internships
While MEM students rarely have any difficulty finding jobs, there are some things that every student should do to maximize their career and internship searches. You may wish to begin by considering what career path or industry you are most interested in. With a degree in both business and engineering, you have so many options! Make a list of your favorite courses and topics, check out the lists of alumni careers and employers on the “Where Are They Now” web page, and make notes of what sounds interesting to you. If you remain uncertain, you can speak with your academic advisor, faculty members, the MEM program assistant, or the Career Center staff. We also highly recommend internships, shadow days or Co-op opportunities to gain experience and build your knowledge with one of the many companies that offer these opportunities. Below is a list of things that can help get you started.
Get to Know the Career Centers
The UConn Career Center and the School of Business Career Center are incredibly powerful and helpful tools that MEM students can and should make use of. Whether it’s working on your resume, engaging in a professional assessment of some sort, seeking training in an area, discussing skills, or interview prep, they have a wealth of information to offer.
A good resume is neat and easy to read while also being thorough and related to the jobs you are applying for. One good way to make sure your resume is directed at the kind of jobs you want is to scan for job descriptions for jobs similar to those you want to consider. Note specific words in the description portion and requirements portion and be sure to include as many as you can with integrity. Many times, recruiters may use software to pre-scan for those keywords, and even if they don’t, they typically only skim resumes seeking those words for about 7 seconds. Make yours stand out by including the right key words. Also always make sure your objective or summary is specific to the individual position for which you are applying.
There is nothing harder than writing a good cover letter when it comes to the job search. Yet, it is important to write one that stands out. Again, be sure to include key words similar to what you did in the resume, and when possible, detail your accomplishments in data points. For example, I participated on a team that evaluated ergonomics at <Company> and reduced repetitive motion injuries by 40%.
Register on Handshake
Many companies use Handshake, an online career search tool available to students through the UConn Career Center. Register for an account and be sure to set it up thoroughly so that employers can search and find you, and you can easily apply to jobs listed in the portal.
An elevator speech is a 30-second monologue that every person should have developed and rehearsed. It will include a few talking points about who you are, what you offer and what you are looking for – in this case related to your career. Anytime you meet someone professionally and have the opportunity, introduce yourself and give your 30-second elevator speech. Click here for tips on developing yours.
UConn hosts so many great career fairs, but there are company-specific fairs and also organization fairs such as through SME. Attending these fairs gives you a chance to meet with others in the companies and industries you are interested in working with. Dress professionally, bring resumes and business cards, and smile. In addition, if you can get their cards, make notes on the back of things you specifically discussed. That way, when you follow up afterward, you have something specific to say that cues their memory of your interaction.
Register on HuskyLink (formerly Husky Mentor Network) with your interests and be matched with UConn alumni and professionals for one-on-one career conversations, including résumé critiques, practice interviews, and more. Use the online mentoring platform to start building your network today by connecting with an alum that can help you out.
Beyond career fairs, networking events can also be very effective at finding career and internship opportunities. These events are usually structured differently and allow you to make connections. While networking can feel inauthentic to some people at first, remember you can often be of assistance to them in the same way they are of assistance to you. Networking isn’t about what someone can do for you, but rather, how you can both help each other.
Student Business Cards
UConn has a great service of offering student business cards through the campus print shop. These cards are very affordable and can be beneficial to keep on hand when at a career fair or networking event, or really any time. You never know if someone from the company you’re interested in will be a surprise guest at one of your courses or you may run into someone at a UConn or other event. Having these handy can set you apart and leave them with a memory of an assertive and friendly student.
Obviously having experience is important for your resume, and while class projects or Senior Design can flesh out your experience section, having an internship also looks really good. It can additionally help you narrow down types and sizes of companies and industries you may want to work in. Internships can be found by attending career fairs, reading MEM newsletters and emails, visiting the Career Center for advice, and through your own personal networking and online searches on company websites.
If you are considering a company or industry and want to know more and maybe expand your network, emailing an alumna/us, Senior Design sponsor, advisory board member, or a personal acquaintance and asking for an information interview can be very beneficial. These meetings are usually brief and can be onsite, on the phone or virtual. You are the one getting the information so you should come prepared with the questions you want answered. And remember to be professional. You always want to leave a good impression because you never know if this could lead to future opportunities. Afterward, follow up with a thank you note or email and connect with them on LinkedIn.