Category Archives: Career Education

Stories about Career Education seminars and events.

How to Identify a Fraudulent Employer

fraud-prevention-3188092_1920An email was recently sent to countless Michigan Tech students titled “Personal Assistant for Busy Executive.”

The email reads, “My name is Mary, I found you through Michigan Tech Career Services.” Then it describes a summer job opportunity with an hourly wage and potential job responsibilities.

We believe the email was sent from a fraudulent employer, and Michigan Tech’s IT department has blocked all future emails coming from the sender’s Gmail address.

A few students responded to the initial email to inquire about the job. However, warning signs in subsequent emails prompted these students to contact our department, and we are so glad they did!

Career Services did not give “Mary” your information.

Please be cautious when sharing personal information with employers that you don’t know and be mindful that employment scams do occur, occasionally.  

Here are a few ideas to help you identify fraudulent employers:

  • Does the email come from a legitimate company email address?  
    • Free accounts like Gmail can be a red flag for fraudulence and phishing schemes.
  • Do they have a legitimate company website? Does it look professional?
    • Check the web address and make sure the website has multiple layers.
    • Check for a physical address associated with the company.
  • Does the company or individual claim to be overseas or international?
    • We extensively vet international job opportunities. You should, too! You can also come to Career Services and we’ll help you do some research.

Other examples of warning signs in “Mary’s” subsequent emails

  • “I don’t have a LinkedIn account at this time, I will set one up on Monday.”
  • “You will be working independently on your own from home.”
  • “How should your name be written on the Check?”
  • “I am physically in Brazil right now conducting a research in the Amazon forest.”

Please be on the lookout for new versions of this email and report them to IT-help@mtu.edu. When in doubt about an employment opportunity, contact Career Services! (Phone: 906-487-2313 | Email: career@mtu.edu)

 


Ask an MTU Career Advisor: What should I do? I accepted a Job Offer but another Company wants an Interview.

Dear MTU Career Advisor,

I accepted a full-time job over spring break (that does not really interest me), and now have another interview with a company I am extremely interested in. I need advice on what information I should share in my upcoming interview as well as what I would do if I got another offer. There are many circumstances that I need to consider in this situation and need professional advice.

Not One, but Two

————————————————————————————————————–

Dear Not One, but Two:

Congratulations! Your efforts have been recognized by not one, but two employers! This is both exciting and stressful, right? RIGHT.  I’m glad you reached out to us.  Let’s call the first company…Company One, and the second…. (you may have guessed it) Company Two.

You already said “yes” to Company One and made an agreement. Even though Company Two is more appealing, I don’t recommend reneging on Company One.  It may sound old fashion, but your word is your bond. Meaning, you should always keep your promises, for a variety of reasons.

It’s a small and connected world, especially at Michigan Tech. Recruiters talk. They will and do talk to one another. Launching your professional career with a renege, may burn a professional bridge that can negatively affect your reputation.  It could also keep Company One from recruiting at Michigan Tech in the future, which ultimately impacts other Huskies.

From an employer’s perspective, recruiting is expensive. It’s a significant investment of time and money for every person that is hired into an organization. When you accepted the first position, Company One stopped looking.  You prevented others from accepting that job. When a candidate reneges, there is a real cost to starting the process over again!

Here’s what I recommend:

  • For Company Two, be transparent. Be honest and tell them you accepted another offer. Emphasize that you want to stay connected and build a rapport for future opportunities, but that you can’t, in good conscience, accept this one.  Let them know how excited you are about the company and request an “informational interview,” in place of a job interview.
  • For Company One, remind yourself of why you said “yes” in the first place! Remember your initial excitement. They selected you from a competitive candidate pool, and they are equally excited to have you on their team. You could, and probably will, totally love this job!

Lastly, you may hear advice from familiar and trusted resources (parents and friends) that might be contrary to what I am advocating. I hope you’ll consider this information in your decision.

Our doors are always open to discuss this matter in person. Again, congratulations for being THAT crazy, smart student!

Regards,

 

An MTU Career Advisor


Co-op experiences produce graduates desired by industry

Rich Wells, Vice President of Michigan Operations for Dow Chemical, walked into a room of talented students from top Universities across the U.S.. These students were working as employees at Dow’s diverse chemical production facility in Midland, Michigan. Each student’s job is not to sweep floors but to take part in a wide variety of meaningful projects that will significantly impact the company financially, while allowing each student to develop meaningful career skills.

The first question for Rich from these student co-ops was what skills did he see entry level engineers lacking? He quickly listed off five areas. 1) Decision making – being comfortable making decisions with limited data. 2) Trusting the knowledge you have gained in school and build on it. 3) Problem-solving skills that allow you to break down complex challenges and develop an array of solutions. 4) Interpersonal skills ranging from working effectively in diverse groups to constructing a clear and concise e-mail. 5) Producing results where he notes that answering e-mails does not qualify as a result. Dow Chemical structures student co-op assignments to develop and foster these skills in young engineers.

Caleb, a chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Leelanau, Michigan, was assigned to the pesticide production division. His process engineering duties included working with a diverse workgroup in both age and experience. Caleb’s communication strategy followed the saying “two eyes, two ears, one mouth”, meaning we were all meant to spend more time observing & listening and less time talking. Caleb learned volumes of information from his mentor Dave and the hourly operators like Scott who had been working there for over 20 years. In the process he gained their respect, allowing him to lead by influence as he successfully completed his projects.

Holly, a third-year chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Essexville, Michigan, was assigned the role of process safety engineer. Her job was to ensure all chemical storage and shipping containers were labeled with appropriate hazardous material signage. If these containers were involved in an accident, a labeling mistake can cost lives along with millions of dollars in fines. Holly developed the ability to build a network of ‘expert’ resources as well as a process to accomplish the task for the diverse number of chemicals and storage units.

Andrew, a third year Mechanical Engineering student at Michigan Tech from Reece, Michigan, was tasked to assess and recommend new water pumps to be purchased for the manufacturing complex. These pumps supplied water for steam generators vital for successful operations of chemical production throughout the facility. Andrew’s recommendation must satisfy needed flow rates at an acceptable cost.

Each of these students was given work meaningful to operations of one of Dow’s largest productions facilities. These students were provided mentors, needed resources, and the support of their superiors. They brought the knowledge they gained from their educational experiences, combined it with the practical knowledge they gained from their peers, and developed multidisciplinary teams to successfully solve the challenges they were assigned.

Dow Chemical’s co-op/internship program allows students to put their acquired knowledge to work in a real world setting. Caleb, Holly, and Andrew will leave this experience having not only provided Dow with valued contributions, but also having developed the skills that Rich Wells and industry covenant in their new college recruits.


Great Career Opportunities In #Steel

Arcelor_Tour_Group_Photo_IMG_6526Huskies have a long and proud history of careers in the steel industry.  To help students learn about the opportunities available to them, ArcelorMittal partnered with Michigan Tech to transport a bus full of students from Houghton, MI to Northwest Indiana.  These students had a chance for an all-access tour of the Indiana Harbor facility along with some unique dining and sightseeing opportunities.

During the tour, students saw first-hand some of the challenges and opportunities of careers in the factory.  They learned the importance of teamwork and safe work practices.  Since the tour consisted primarily of first and second-year students, these lessons will help them in their future careers, regardless of their degree or the company they work for.

Some of the post-tour surveys revealed what the students learned:

  • “Everyone we spoke with seemed genuinely invested in the company and also what they are making”
  • “Employees were very satisfied with their jobs”
  • “It is very important for a company to be good to the people that work for them”
  • “…an opportunity to assume responsibility from day one on the job…”
  • “The company…still allows personal fulfillment”

Before the students took the tour, 50% said they probably would not have considered a career in the Steel Industry.  After the tour, 93% of the students said they would consider working for ArcelorMittal.


#MTUCareerFEST Schedule for next fall available

CareerFEST

To better help our students prepare for their future careers, we have a broad variety of programming in the weeks leading up to Career Fair to help them network, build skills, and explore career opportunities.

Industry Days

These days help students explore careers and learn about the different career opportunities for them that they may not have considered before.  The schedule includes days focused on Aerospace, Automotive, Business, Construction & Building Systems, Energy, Railroad, Robotics & Control, and Steel.  As an alumni or a recruiter, these events are an excellent way to share what you learned throughout your lifetime with today’s students.


STEMconnector searches for ways to develop talent needed by industry

Recently a group of over 300 industry and educational leaders meet in Washington D.C. to share and explore ways to fill the pipeline of human talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The group, called STEMconnector, is facing a growing crisis due to lack of qualified intellectual talent to meet company hiring needs. A series of industry leadership panels identified the challenges, then explored solutions that would not only improve individual lives, but support developing economies and governments across the globe.

STEM jobs, those careers focused on use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are growing 1.7 times faster than that of non-STEM jobs. Surya Kant, President of North America, UK and Europe for Tata Consulting Services (TCS), a worldwide contractor for information technology talent, estimated that by 2030 they will need to hire 430,000 more STEM employees, a majority of which will be in the area of computer science and engineering. They have developed a new program called Go IT which is now being rolled out in 32 major cities across the world. The program engages students and their parents by introducing them to the basics of programming and exposing them to the many well-compensated careers in this area.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2013 – 2023 there will be two jobs available for every computer science graduate in the U.S. Currently only 2.4% of college graduates earn their degree in computer science. TCS notes that 30 of 50 states do not require computer science courses in their graduation requirements, hindering efforts to get students engaged in programming early in their education.

Allyson Knox, Director of Education Policy & Programs at Microsoft, echoed concerns at TCS. She noted that 1 in 4 U.S. high schools offer advanced placement courses in computer science. She noted that research has found young women taking this course were 4 times more likely to complete a degree in computer science, while African-American and Hispanic students taking the course were 7 times more likely to achieve academic success in the degree.  Microsoft has created the website code.org to encourage students and their parents to explore computer programming. Filled with interactive games that increase in complexity, the site illuminates lucrative career paths in computer programming.

Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairmen and Chief Scientific Officer at Pepsico, shared the humanitarian opportunity associated with filling these talent needs. He noted that 40 percent of the food we grow is wasted. The main contributor of pollution in the world is agriculture. Dr. Khan shared that each day 1 billion people go to bed hungry.  He notes if we can cut our food waste in half, we can feed the world and not increase pollution. Yet he also highlighted that in the next 10 years 50 percent of our scientists working on this efficiency problem will be retiring.

Industry leaders created STEMconnector to help them address the looming talent shortage. They all recognize the solution does not lie in just higher education or exclusively in our K-12 school system. It is a societal challenge whose solutions lie in multiple initiatives and they are each taking individual and collaborative steps to fill the STEM pipeline. The quality of our lives in the future is directly correlated to the success of filling this STEM pipeline, as does the economic prosperity of our children.


Body Language – It Speaks Volumes!

We were pleased to have one of our Alumni share her stories with our students.  Allie Irwin (Engineered Conversations) visited campus to speak with students and faculty about how body language sends messages about listening, importance, honesty, and many other things without us being aware of it.

The summary of her visit is now available for review on: http://www.mtu.edu/career/students/resources/bodylanguage/


Preparing Students for their Co-op Experience

When a student leaves campus to begin a co-op or internship, they are faced with a challenge regarding their identity. After operating as a student for so long, they have to quickly transition to that of a professional, and sometimes for the first time. When done right, students feel an amazing sense of accomplishment – “I was treated like the other professionals.” With the right attitude and keen sense for polishing their professional skills, students can begin building a successful professional career and respected reputation during their co-op experience. And isn’t that the point?

However, we cannot assume that all students are prepared to make this transition; thus, to assist students in this process, Career Services requires all co-op students attend a pre-departure meeting. The topics in this meeting include networking, co-op course requirements, but most important are the keys to a successful co-op. Surprisingly to students, those who are successful are not always the most brilliant technically, but rather they shine because of their professionalism, attitude, and excellent communication skills. Check out this semester’s meeting.

Spring 2016 Co-op Meeting

https://huskycast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=1151eb4d-1885-4305-9bae-c1d661d455dc



The Perma-Smile

Many people talk about the “Senior Slide” as students finish their final year of college, I prefer to talk about the “perma-smile”.  smiley-face-on-beach

Students have worked so hard for their grades.  They have learned how to survive with messy roommates, impossible project assignments, harsh weather, homesickness, and the stress of a job search.  In the last few weeks of the Spring semester, can you blame them for being insufferably happy?

As these students count down the days until they graduate (it’s 22, by the way) – all of their hard work has paid off.  Although nobody knows what it is, they are ready to join the “real world”   As they strike out on their own, hopefully, the Career Culture that we have created on campus will propel them into their first destination.

The educational value of many the things the students have done may not be apparent to them.  There are a lot of technical skills learned in the classroom, but also a lot of other skills learned outside of the class that will help them succeed.  Late nights completing a project before a deadline, networking during a lunch, performing a presentation on a topic in front of their peers, entering a contest, or volunteering their talents to help someone else — these life lessons will serve them well.

To me, the perma-smile is a result of knowing that all the hard work is just beginning but the pay will be much better!