Day: February 15, 2011

Preparing to Get Your First Job

As you plan your college career, think about what employers like to see on a resume.

  • Education: major, minor, and/or certification
  • Work experience: general employment, summer internship, and co-op
  • Special experience: study abroad (see the January blog “Looking Ahead“.) and examples of leadership
  • Service activities: volunteer efforts at any level

Work Experience

Work experience can come in many forms: general employment, summer internship, or co-op and each has many aspects that interest employers. Any type of employment can demonstrate reliability, dedication, independence, maturity, and team work. Summer internships may or may not include engineering experience, but co-op positions almost always do. Generally, a co-op student works on site for a company on an engineering project while receiving guidance/mentorship from a supervising engineer. Students who participate in a co-op experience are typically paid by the company. In addition, the student earns college credit while retaining full-time enrollment status at Michigan Tech.

Special Activities and Service

As people prepare their resumes, they usually think of listing college major, GPA, and work experience, but extra-curricular activities should not be forgotten. Employers are looking for students who are well rounded and service, leadership, and international experience are important. This experience can be obtained through athletic, professional, academic, and social organizations. If your resume needs some of this type of experience, it is important to get involved early. Start checking out organizations now and plan to join this spring or next fall.

Minors and Certificates

Many students find courses outside their major that are of great interest to them. One way to receive formal recognition for taking such extra courses is by meeting the requirements for a minor or a certificate. Each option has a set of rules for meeting those requirements.

The purpose of a minor is to officially recognize a student who takes a prescribed set of courses in a discipline outside their major. To earn a minor, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in minor courses.
  • Minimum of six credits must be 3000-level or higher and not used for degree (other than as free electives).
  • Minimum of six credits of the 3000 level or higher minor-required courses at Michigan Tech.
  • May not be completed after receiving a bachelor’s degree.
  • May not be earned with the same title as the student’s major or major concentration for the student’s bachelor’s degree.

Planning Your College Career

Having a graduation plan can help you accomplish your goals while at college. This is a semester-by-semester layout of your classes from now until graduation. An effective graduation plan details planned courses for each semester and takes into consideration plans for co-op and/or studying abroad as well as plans for an optimal course load. As you develop your plan, think about the following:

  • Pre-requisites/co-requisites
  • The semester(s) that courses are offered
  • Credits/course load with which you are comfortable
  • Co-op opportunities
  • Study abroad programs
  • Minors or certifications that compliment your major
  • Summer classes
  • Electives (i.e., technical, HASS, free) you plan to take
  • Volunteer and extra-curricular activities

Your graduation plan will help ensure that you are taking what you need to graduate – without last minute surprises. Your plan should be flexible and should be reviewed/updated each semester. Once you have established your plan, you may want to meet with your advisor to go over any questions. To start your own graduation plan, download the spreadsheet found at the Graduation Plan link on: