For Students

Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

Internship/Co-op

Job Placement

Looking For a Part-Time Job

Looking For a Post-Graduation Job

Academics

Resumes

Career Fairs

Graduate School

What does the Career & Co-op Center do?

We offer individual appointments for all types of career guidance, resume and cover letter reviews, practice interviews, workshops and presentations, panel discussions, career fairs, on-campus interviews, company information sessions, online job, co-op and internship postings (as well as some printed internship, co-op, and seasonal resources in the office), vocational assessments, a variety of job search handouts and articles, and access to our Alumni-Student Career Connections LinkedIN group.

Where is the Career & Co-op Center located?

Our primary office is in University Crossing, Suite 450. We also offer appointment and drop-in services (see our website for posted drop-in hours) in our South Campus office, found in O'Leary Library.

Can I just walk in and get help?

While we do have daily drop-in hours (15-minute appointments which are best suited for resume / cover letter reviews or quick career-related questions), we typically recommend that students who are new to our office make an appointment with a career counselor. Scheduling an appointment is easy – just call us at 978-934-2355.

Can I get individual time with a specific counselor?

Sure. Just specify who you’d like to meet with when you schedule your appointment. If you haven’t been to our office before, scheduling will likely occur based on mutual availability.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

During your initial one-hour visit, your career counselor will ask you some questions about your career planning status and, based on your current needs, the two of you will begin to formulate a plan for reaching your goals.

When is the best time to come in for an appointment?

We normally recommend that you meet with us for the first time during the second semester of your Freshman year.

How many times can I utilize the Career & Co-op Center?

As many times as you need to!

Do you have tools to help me pick a major or career?

Yes! We have several resources, including interest inventories and assessments, to help you sort it all out. We’ll also have discussions with you about your interests, skills and values so that we’re better able to make appropriate suggestions for possible career exploration.

Do I need an internship or co-op?

While you don’t necessarily need an internship to graduate, having internship or co-op experience on your resume will make you stand out in a competitive job market. Employers are looking for candidates who have taken the initiative to gain real-world hands-on experience and, more often than not, internship and co-op sites provide just that experience. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the opportunity some interns get for continued full-time employment at their internship site. Regardless, just having an internship experience will make the first post-graduation job easier to get, and it may increase your chances for a larger salary.

What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?

Check with the employer to find out the exact terms of their position. Often, the terms “internship” and “co-op” are used interchangeably, so you’ll want to gain a clear understanding of any position before proceeding too far in the application process. The Career & Co-op Center manages the Professional Co-op program for students in all Business concentrations, most Engineering majors, and selected Science majors.

When is the right time to begin thinking about an internship or co-op?

We normally recommend that students begin thinking about an internship or co-op during the first semester of their Sophomore year. Students in eligible majors interested in the Professional Co-op program managed by the Career & Co-op Center will receive notification of information sessions about the program during the Spring of their first year.

Where do I find internships or co-ops related to my major?

Visit the Internships and Co-ops section of our website. You can also find internship and co-op postings on CareerLINK, our online job search network. Talking with a career counselor can be a good start. Finally, check with your faculty members for advice and recommendations. 

What is the process for applying?

For an overview of the steps involved in the application process, visit our website's Internships and Co-ops link and the information in Internships, Co-ops and Other Experiential Education Opportunities: An Overview.

Should I expect academic credit for doing an internship?

Not all internships provide academic credit. Before proceeding with the application process, find out exactly what form of compensation is provided (e.g., academic credit, stipend, salary, etc.)

What do I need to do once my internship has started?

There are a few things to keep in mind once your internship has begun.

  1. Remember to treat this opportunity like a job; dress professionally and always be on time.
  2. Keep careful notes and develop efficient work habits.
  3. Keep track of your progress; summarize the progress of various projects with monthly performance reports to track your achievements.
  4. Ask plenty of questions; find out how your work fits in with other work that the company is doing.
  5. Be honest if you're in over your head; alert your supervisor if you can't complete a project, so he or she can make alternate plans.
  6. Take initiative and be outgoing.
  7. Be friendly and cultivate professional relationships; join teams and volunteer to help with last-minute projects.
  8. Gain insight and learn what job prospects/descriptions suit you.
  9. Check in with your internship adviser at UMass Lowell and complete necessary paperwork on time.

What do I need to do once my internship has ended?

After your internship has ended, ask your supervisor for a written recommendation for future employment prospects and for permission to use his or her name as a positive employment reference. Send thank you notes promptly to everyone in the company for whom you worked, and maintain contact with your supervisor; let him or her know about your ongoing career plans and goals. Finally, check in with your internship adviser at UMass Lowell and complete necessary paperwork on time.

Do you place students in jobs?

While we don’t function as a placement office, we do provide our students with the skills, tools and resources to effectively find and apply for a variety of jobs and internships that match their personal and professional interests. We also have an active on-campus recruiting program, in which all students may participate. Supplementing our on-campus recruiting program, we offer career fairs throughout the year, each of which typically attracts up to 100 hiring companies. We firmly believe that our students have the capability of being their own best advocates, and encourage them to assertively seek out positions which closely match their skills and interests; however, we remain a vital component of this process, as we facilitate opportunities for making connections and provide on-going training and support in the implementation of an effective job search campaign.

Do you help find job opportunities for graduating students?

Yes, we are here to help students uncover job, internship or co-op opportunities that best match their skills and interests. Every position submitted to our office is posted on CareerLINK. This online system allows you to apply immediately for any position which does not require you to submit a resume via the CareerLINK system (if a position you’re interested in does require you to submit a resume online, we ask that you make an appointment to have it reviewed by a career counselor first). In addition, we are able to suggest a number of reputable job search websites, networking groups, contract agencies, research sites, alumni resources and career fairs that students may use in their search for job and internship postings.

How can I find a part-time job related to my major?

CareerLINK is the best place to start; employers use this resource to post part-time as well as full-time positions. In addition, we recommend that you check with your classmates and professors for recommendations, and that you find out if any positions are posted in your academic department. Finally, the Student Employment Office has a Job Locator Program that is designed to help students find part-time, off campus employment opportunities. Job listings are posted on a bulletin board in the Financial Aid Office. Students do not have to be financial aid recipients to fill out a Job Locator Application. After completing the application, a student can select the jobs that appear to be a suitable match, and receive a referral card that provides pertinent information in contacting the hiring manager for an interview.

Are part-time positions available on campus?

If you are interested in working on-campus, we recommend that you explore the following departments and resources for vacancies: your academic department (teaching assistant or research assistant openings may exist), the campus bookstore, multimedia labs, Aramark Dining Services, UMass Lowell Libraries, Escort Services, Campus Recreation Center, Access Services and Residence Life (if interested in becoming a resident advisor). If you have received financial aid in the form of a Work-Study award, make sure you check with the Financial Aid office for a list of hiring departments.

Do you help students from all majors find jobs after graduation?

Yes, we do!

What are some steps that I should be taking to find a job?

Make an appointment to meet with a career counselor, fine-tune your resume and job search letters, start a LinkedIn account and join the UMass Lowell Alumni-Student Career Connections group on LinkedIN, go on some informational interviews, find a mentor, attend career fairs and open houses, join a professional association, contact your references, network with your professors, consider a practice interview (in-person or via InterviewStream), and, last but not least, do your best to stay positive and make a great impression with everyone you meet along the way!

How can I increase my future marketability?

Seek out part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer or freelance opportunities that will equip you with the skills and experiences that are required of your focus industry. Then create a resume that showcases these skills, and demonstrates your interest in the field (we can help with that part!).

I’ve heard of career portfolios – should I have one?

It depends on your major. Portfolios are typically required in Fine Arts majors such as photography or graphic design, but not usually in Business, Technology or Liberal Arts majors. If you wish to formalize the demonstrations of your experience and writing samples, or if you’re simply required to put one together, make an appointment with a career counselor so that we can review some suggested formats and discuss your particular situation.

What should I be doing to find a job in a difficult economy?

Studies show that students who make frequent use of their campus career center get more job offers. So schedule an appointment with a career counselor to map out your job search strategy. Another good idea is try to get a foot in the door through an internship, co-op, part-time job or volunteer position. And stay positive; an upbeat attitude can give you an edge in today’s job market!

What am I doing here?

If you’re asking yourself that question, you should know that you’re not the first student to do so. And you won’t be the last. College can be an exciting and rewarding time in a person’s life, but it can also produce anxiety and uncertainty when you are presented with difficult and seemingly life-changing decisions. The Career & Co-op Center is here to help you sort out your skills, interests and values, and to engage in discussions with you about your options. If you’re unsure about your major, career options or pending job search, call for an appointment with a career counselor.

How do I know what classes to pick, or how to declare a major?

Make sure that you meet with your academic advisor at least once each semester. If you’re unsure about who you have been assigned to for academic advising, you can check with your academic department or with the Centers for Learning. Visit the Registrar’s website for the correct forms and deadlines.

What career options exist for someone in my major?

Probably plenty! To explore your options online, click on “What can I do with this major?”. To have a discussion with a career counselor about your options, contact us for an appointment.

Should I consider adding a minor or concentration?

Ask yourself these questions: How interested am I in this area or industry? Is this a skill set that I could see myself developing? Can I still finish my degree on time? How much more marketable would this additional credential make me? If you’d like to explore any of these questions with a career counselor, contact us for an appointment.

How do I go about finding a tutor?

Tutoring is available through the Centers for Learning and Academic Support Services. Students can receive tutoring free of charge at either of the two Centers for Learning locations: North Campus (Southwick 321) or South Campus (O’Leary Library).

How do I know I’m in the right field/major for me?

We have several resources, including interest inventories and assessments, to help you figure it out. During an appointment with a career counselor, we’ll also ask you about your interests, skills and values so that we’re better able to make appropriate suggestions for possible career exploration.

I love my major, but I’m not sure how marketable it is.

If you LOVE what you do, chances are good that you can find an opportunity for yourself. If you’re looking for specific information regarding possible career choices, however, check out “What can I do with this major”, O*NET and FOCUS, all of which can be found on our website.

I can’t stand my major, what should I do?

It’s time to start talking about what you’d love to do. Schedule an appointment with a career counselor so that we can discuss your primary interests, skills, values and academic strengths, as well as review the interest inventories and assessments that are available for you to use.

Help – my resume needs major work!

Contact us for an appointment; we’d be happy to discuss your career goals and review several sample resume formats. You can also check our website for available drop-in times, or come to our of our Resume Makeover events.

Can I get help with my resume even after I graduate?

Yes! As your career changes, so too should your resume. We’re happy to help you modify it.

How do I create a resume that stands out in a competitive job market?

Find out what skills and qualifications are required to do the job you’re interested in, and showcase examples of related skills. It’s not about fancy paper or graphics, it’s about showing an employer that you are qualified for (and interested in) the position that you’re applying for.

I’m a first-year student with limited experience. What do I put on my resume?

We have several resume samples that we can review with you and, chances are, we’ve got some great suggestions for how to gain the experience and skills that will make you a competitive candidate down the road! Contact us for an appointment with a career counselor.

Why do I even need a resume?

Regardless of the type of position you’re interested in, the hiring manager at your company of interest will want to see an overview of the various positions you’ve held, as well as academic information, skills, interests, professional associations and/or community involvement.

When should I begin working on my resume?

The second semester of your First Year is when you should start thinking about it.

How long should my resume be?

Typically, a resume should not be longer than one page; however, there are always exceptions. Talk to us if you’re unsure about your particular situation.

How do I find out about on-campus career fairs and events?

We advertise our events through campus posters, flyers, in-class announcements, email, our website, WUML, The Connector, UML Today, and CareerLINK. Be on the lookout for information, and attend EVERY event that you think could benefit you!

When and where are your career fairs usually held?

We hold large career fairs in the Fall and in the Spring open to all majors. Career fair preparation workshops and resume makeover events take place during the 2-3 weeks prior to each career fair. Smaller fairs for "niche" industries may also be scheduled.

How many students get a job through a career fair?

While we don’t keep track of the exact number of job offers resulting from each career fair, we do collect feedback from participating students and employers. Employers typically report being impressed with the resumes and preparedness of the UMass Lowell students they meet with; “Students were prepared and motivated,” reported one employer after our recent Engineering & Technology Career Fair. Students report being the most satisfied with the opportunity to explore the world of work, being provided with increased visibility with employers, and getting the chance to learn first-hand about various companies and industries.

How do you find employers interested in attending a career fair?

We start with the thousands of employers in our CareerLINK database, and then we ask faculty members and others for recommendations of companies with whom they are currently working or who may be in need of students studying particular majors. In the end, we have a large number of reputable organizations that have a strong interest in recruiting UMass Lowell students for a variety of full-time, part-time, and co-op positions.

When should I take graduate school exams?

During the first semester of your Junior year is when you want to start researching graduate schools and programs; the Graduate School page of our website provides links to several helpful websites. During the second semester of your Junior year, you should begin to register and prepare for graduate admissions tests.

I hear the job market is rough – should I go to grad school right after college?

There are different schools of thought about graduate school: some say, "Go now while you know how to study!" and others say, "Wait until you really figure out what you want to do, then go if you need to." Indeed, many graduate programs do prefer or require you to have some experience under your belt before starting graduate studies. And, because of the cost, effort, and time required, it makes sense to have a specific goal in mind when pursuing a graduate degree. It helps to talk to professionals in your field of interest to find out their perspective on whether grad school makes sense and, if so, when. Of course, talking to a career counselor could help provide some perspective and information as well.

How can I prepare for the graduate school application process?

Click on the Graduate School link on our homepage, and then review the Graduate School Application Timeline. This document will walk you through the specific steps that should be taken during your academic career to ensure that you are thoroughly informed and prepared.