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Help with cover letters

In this week's blog we want to discuss a few tips for writing strong cover letters.

The most important point about cover letters is: do not make a generalized letter to send out to multiple employers. Each cover letter should be tailored to the company you are interested in applying for, and more specifically, the exact position you are applying to.

To achieve this, I recommend the following prep work:

  • If searching online, print the job posting - highlight/underline every qualification listed within the posting (i.e. education, experience, interests/hobbies, personality qualities, technical skills).

  • Using the qualifications specified, identify which qualifications you have that match those they are looking for. Note: even if you do not meet all of their qualifications, don't be discouraged from applying! They may be happy to find a candidate that fulfills most of the qualifications.

  • This preparation can help you determine if the position is … 
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Preparing for the "real world" of engineering

How prepared are OSU engineering students for the "real world"? When ECS asks this question of our employers at the end of each quarter, we are looking to uncover ways that our students can become stronger candidates overall. Last year, engineering co-op and internship employers made the following suggestions to our students, based on student performance:

Understand the business, financial and statistical considerations that affect the professional engineering practice. Engineering-related decisions are not made based upon the laws of math and physics alone. Project managers must consider situations from various angles - for example, how do profitability and loss factor into a project? Statistics are also essential for engineers. Such things as risk assessment, probability, and cost analysis are essential for making smart choices. Consider courses that incorporate this aspect into their curriculum. Think about joining student organizations such as Society of Business and Engineering (SoBE). Start reading publications in … 

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Jobs to Junk (Make sure you receive your offers!)

Did you know that many employers will e-mail your offer letters? That's right! E-mail has become the standard method of communication for things like interview invitations, offer letters, HR pre-employment forms, job details, and other paperwork associated with your job search.

Most students opt to use their OSU e-mail address, which we enourage because it's a professional, standard e-mail address; however, because OSU has a very sophisticated anti-spam filter system, some messages (even those from legitimate sources, like employers or ECS) can go right into the trash. If an employer is sending out a message to several students at once, for example, invitations to interview, these messages are more susceptible to the anti-spam filter because it risks being seen as a solicitation. We've also noticed that messages sent from Blackberries will often end up in junk mail.

Additionally, employers with messages containing unusual words (for example, bio, human, request, devices) … 

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Expand your job prospects through personal contacts with employers

I find a lot of students frustrated with their job search when they are told to "go online and apply." Many students tell me they wish they could just talk with someone to learn more about opportunities...they like the ease of applying through their job search account, but they want to interact with employers as well. It's true that we live in the age of "high-tech, low-touch" but there are ways to make job search connections. One way is through the Engineering Job Shadow Program. This is not the job shadow program you might have experienced in high school!

Did you know that more and more engineering students are networking their way into internships and co-ops through job shadowing? We asked a past participant what helped him most during his job search. He said, "The job shadow program. It is a great opportunity, and I would recommend it … 

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Worried That Co-ops Will Delay Your 4-Year Graduation Date?

Many students voice concerns to us about graduating "late" because of a co-op rotation. "I want to be able to graduate in 4 years" is the usual hesitation when considering co-ops. In this week's blog, we want to discuss opening up your job search to include co-ops, in addition to internships, as well as the pros and cons of graduating on-time without experience.

Applied experience outside the classroom is heavily emphasized for engineering students. Many companies will list "previous co-op or internship experience" as one of their entry level career requirements. It's why 89% of students employed at graduation last spring had internship or co-op experience. It's for the same reasons that education majors must complete student teaching before being certified or nursing students must pass their clinicals before practicing.

A successful job search has nothing to do with how long it took you to get your degree and everything … 

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