NTID Co-op and Career Center – Students

NTID Co-op and Career Center (NCCC) was formerly known as the NTID Center on Employment (NCE).
We appreciate your patience as we work through name changes on the website and publication materials.

NCCC Services

We're here for you!

The main role of the NTID Co-op and Career Center (NCCC) is to assist current students and graduates with their job search. Take advantage of some or all of the services below to get started.

Employment Advisors provide job search tutoring that can help you:
  • Write or improve your resume and cover letter
  • Complete a job application
  • Put together a list of references and a portfolio
  • Use books and web resources to find employers you can contact about possible jobs
  • Find job announcements on the web and apply
  • Consider different ways to approach employers about employment
  • Prepare for interviews and follow up using various communication strategies
  • Get ready for the working world
Important for you to Know:

To work at a co-op or full time job in the United States you must first have a work authorization. When you have a job offer and when you have registered for co-op you should visit the RIT International Student Services Office on the mezzanine level of the Student Alumni Union. They will issue you a new I-20 to enable you to work. Every time you change jobs you will need a new I-20. In addition, for any employment in the U.S. you will need to apply for a Social Security number.

  1. What do I need to know about doing a co-op in the U.S.?
    Before you can apply for an off-campus co-op (called Curricular Practical Training – CPT by the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services) you must be a student here for at least 9 months and the co-op must be in your field of study. CPT can be on campus. For more information: http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/iss/immigration-visas/f-1-employment
  2. What if I want a co-op job on-campus?
    International students can work in a co-op on campus if they find an opportunity that matches their major.
  3. What do I need to do to apply for a job in the U.S. after graduation?
    You may be eligible to be employed in jobs which are directly related to your major field of study for up to one year. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service calls this type of employment Optional Practical Training (OPT). For more information: http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/iss/immigration-visas/f-1-employment
  4. What if I want to stay in the U.S. for more than one year?
    If you want to stay in the U.S. for more than a year, you would need to obtain a temporary work permit, called an H1B. In order to obtain that permit, you must first have an offer of employment. Then there are specific steps your employer must take. You may be in H1B status (have a temporary work permit) for up to 6 years.
  5. What if I want to work in my home country for co-op or full-time employment?
    To enhance your chances of getting a job in your home country, you should consider if your degree, major, and/or skills are relevant to the employment needs in your country. If they are, you might be more likely to be successful finding a job there. You can do CPT in your home country and then return to the US to study again.
  6. If I want to complete my co-op in the U.S or work in the U.S. full-time, what would make me competitive?
    As an international student, you have some particular qualities that you can offer employers:
    • Skills you have developed at RIT
    • Bi-cultural (tri-cultural including Deaf culture) background
    • Your knowledge of more than one language
    • Demonstrated success at living in another country
    • Personal strengths (courage, adaptability, motivation) involved in coming to the U.S. to pursue your education.
  7. What are some tips for my job search as an international student?
    • Research the demand for your degree and skillset. Your job search will be easier if you have highly marketable skills or extensive experience. Be flexible—you may need to relocate in order to find the job you want. Learn all you can about your targeted career field.
    • Use all available resources in your job search. These include: college on-campus recruiting, campus or community job fairs, job postings on national job posting Internet sites, company website postings, job postings in newspapers and trade publications, professional associations, resume searches on national on-line services, employee referrals, regional and national conferences, employment agencies, networking through your own contacts.
    • Develop strong communication skills. Provide a well-prepared resume that includes desirable skills and relevant work experiences. Prepare your communication strategy for the interview (voicing, signing, using an interpreter, video conferencing with relay). Clearly convey your interests and ability to do the job in an interview. Make good eye contact with the employer in order to portray confidence and honesty. If your English language skills need work, see your academic advisor for tutoring and information on other resources.
    • Interact with other international students who have successfully found employment in the U.S., and get advice from them.
    • Work with the NTID Co-op and Career Center (NCCC) and Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education here at RIT. Attend sessions on job search strategies and related topics. Work with your Employment Advisor to develop your job search strategy. Attend campus career fairs and company information sessions to inquire about employment opportunities and to practice your networking skills.
    • Target multinational companies because they may value your versatile language skills and may have facilities in your home country.
    • Start your job search early, and create and follow a detailed plan of action that will lead you to a great job!

For further information, contact the International Student Advisors by phone at 585-475- 6943 or on the mezzanine level of the Student Alumni Union. Their website is: www.rit.edu/iss.


NTID Co-op and Career Center (NCCC)
LBJ (Building #60) - Room 2808
Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Directions to NTID


Mailing address

Lyndon Baines Johnson Building
NTID Co-op and Career Center
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604




585-286-4155 Voice/VP

Co-op Information

If you are offered a co-op that requires you to work from home (remotely), contact your NCCC Employment Advisor to let them know.

If you are working remotely on a co-op, and you have any questions or concerns about your work situation, please contact your NCCC Employment Advisor immediately.

  1. It’s normal to feel nervous and stressed as you start a co-op working from home. Stay positive, motivated and connected with your supervisor and know it will take you a little time to feel comfortable with this work arrangement.
  2. Even though you are working from home, dress professionally. You’ll be more productive if you wash and dress like you are going to the office!
  3. Practice good time management—create a work schedule to follow, including breaks throughout the work day.
  4. Make sure your home office arrangement is comfortable and looks presentable, and accommodates the work you will be doing.
  5. Make sure you and your supervisor understand what you are expected to do on co-op and who you should talk to if you have any questions about your work assignments.
  6. Make sure you and your supervisor have a plan for how you will be communicating on the job (email, video calls, remote tools or platforms, video meetings) and how often you will be communicating about your work throughout the day or week. Promptly return your supervisor or co-workers calls, texts or emails.
  7. Make sure you know when the supervisor wants you to communicate with them (such as contact when you start work in the morning, check in at a specific time of day, etc.).
  8. Give your supervisor regular updates on your work.
  9. Find out what the break schedule is and how much time you are given for lunch, and then develop a work schedule that routinely includes these breaks.
  10. Let the people you live with know your work schedule and ask that you not be interrupted during your work hours.


NTID Center on Employment: rit.edu/ntid/nccc#nccc-staff

If you are using NTID-provided computers or equipment and need technical assistance, contact:
NTID Technology and Information Services Help desk: rit.edu/ntid/tis

A co-op provides students with real-world work experience to add to their resumes. They also have the opportunity to see if the type of work they do on a co-op is the type of work they want to do in the future.

Meet and learn from five students who had successful co-op experiences.

Everything you always wanted to know about co-ops

Doing a co-op or internship helps you to prepare for the competitive working world after you graduate. Check with your academic advisor to find out if your degree program requires a co-op.

  • Most NTID program co-ops typically require at least 350 hours over a 10-week period.
  • Bachelor’s degree co-op periods vary, depending on the program. Typically, a semester-length co-op will run between 15 and 16 weeks in length, and a summer co-op between 10 and 12 weeks.
  • Read more about the co-op process, make sure to report your co-op to RIT, and check with your academic department about reporting your co-op in SIS.
  • There is no tuition charged during your co-op, and you receive no credits, but it generally is required for your degree and will appear on your transcript.
  • Some paperwork is required. See your academic chairperson, co-op coordinator, or employment advisor for specific forms required for your major.
What about pay?

A co-op should be a paid experience at competitive wages for a temporary job.

  • Pay can vary, depending on the type of employer, job duties, your qualifications, and location of the co-op.
  • If you can only find a co-op without pay (volunteer position), it is very important for you to ask your chairperson for approval.
  • If you receive SSI and/or SSDI, and get a paying co-op, be sure to discuss with your Social Security representative how to handle your SSI/SSDI payments for the time you are on co-op.
When you get a co-op, share your good news with your employment advisor, chairperson and/or co-op coordinator.

It is important that you provide the following information when you report your co-op to RIT:

  • Name of company, complete mail and email addresses
  • Name, job title, and telephone number of person who hired you
  • Name, job title, email address, and telephone number of your supervisor
  • Your job title, hours expected, start and end dates, pay, and duties
At the beginning of the co-op, we suggest that you:
  • Discuss with your employer the best ways to communicate with you. Suggest to your employer that they visit the NCCC website for information about communication and working with deaf people
  • Meet your supervisor and your co-workers, and ask for a chart of the organization, if available, to help you understand the company’s structure.
  • Find out what your co-workers prefer to be called.
  • Ask about the dress code.
Learn about the culture and policies in your workplace. Some examples:
  • Everyone is expected to come to work every day and be on time.
  • Teamwork and cooperation in the workplace are important.
  • Participation in social events will help you be part of the team.
Tips for success
  • Understand your responsibilities and work priorities.
  • Be motivated to do you work tasks well and on time.
  • Ask what else you can do when you finish assignments.
  • Be flexible and willing to do tasks that are not normally part of your job.
  • Ask appropriate questions.
  • Learn new skills and grow.
  • Maintain a good attitude.
  • Make the co-op a positive experience for both you and the employer, since you represent yourself, RIT/NTID, and other deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Read more about the co-op process, make sure to report your co-op to RIT, and check with your academic department about reporting your co-op in SIS.

After you finish your co-op, you are required to complete and submit a Work Report on your experience for your academic department to review. You are responsible for completing the Work Report form near the end of your co-op experience. It is important that you submit the completed form to RIT as soon as possible, so a grade (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) can be assigned to the co-op.

RIT will send a link to your employer with a request to complete a Co-op Evaluation near the end of your co-op term. It is the employer’s responsibility to rate your performance at work, add comments, and submit the completed form to RIT. You should remind your supervisor that RIT will be emailing the link to the evaluation and that the form needs to be completed as soon as possible in order for you to receive a grade for the co-op experience.

Career Fairs/Events

The NTID Career Fair

The NTID Co-op and Career Center appreciates all students who participated in the 2023 NTID Career Fair!

Photo of girl standing in front of man signing at booth in NTID hallway at career fair event

The 2024 NTID Career Fair is on Wednesday, October 9th from 12:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET at the first floor of LBJ hall. Student pre-registration will open at the beginning of the fall semester. For questions, contact ntidcoe@rit.edu.

Be sure to stay connected with your NCCC employment advisor for help with your job search and to learn about job opportunities as they become available!

The NTID Career Fair takes place annually, and there are many ways for students to prepare. Important information about being prepared for the NTID Career Fair in the future can be found below.

We encourage all RIT/NTID students attending to prepare on the RIT Career Connect website. There you will be able to pre-register as well as find out which companies are attending. When you click on the link for Career Connect:

  1. Log in with your RIT username.
  2. Select “Career Fairs” in the pulldown menu and choose “NTID Career Fair”.
  3. Select “Attending” (this pre-registers you for the event).
  4. Select “All Employers” to see all the companies attending.

Benefits of pre-registering for the Career Fair:

  • Be sure to upload your resume to your Career Connect profile. Employers can see that you've pre-registered and can see your uploaded resume.
  • You can “STAR” employers that you are interested in meeting. Employers will see that you are interested in connecting with them at the Fair.
Tips for success at a career fair:

Are you ready for the NTID Career Fair?

Click on the link below to see a short video to learn tips to help you prepare for the Career/Job Fair.

  • Research the employers attending the fair.
  • Make a list of employers that you want to see.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Research the employers attending the fair.
  • Make a list of employers you want to see.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring copies of your resume.
  • Smile and make eye contact when you approach the recruiter.
  • Introduce yourself and shake hands.
  • Introduce the interpreter, if one is with you.
  • Explain your field and the type of job you are seeking.
  • Give the recruiter your resume.
  • Ask about the types of positions the company is looking to fill.
  • Be prepared to discuss communication strategies.
  • Ask for a business card.
  • Thank the recruiter for his/her time.
  • Make notes after speaking to each employer.
  • Follow up by calling or sending a letter within 7-10 days.
  • Keep a record of all contacts with employers.

Virtual Career Fair Tips

  • Make sure your internet connection is working properly, and you are able to join the career fair link.
  • Find a quiet spot with no distractions to sit during the event, and make sure you have a plain background behind you.
  • Test your camera to make sure it is working properly and that there is good lighting.
  • Use good posture when sitting or standing during the event.

In addition to the NTID Career Fair, RIT hosts a variety of other career events. Click on the “Events” dropdown menu at the very top of this page for more information.

Please check back for information on upcoming presentations.

Communication & Accommodations

Effective communication is a joint responsibility of hearing and deaf people. When you are communicating face-to-face, repeating the information can confirm that the message is understood, that is one strategy both can use. Also, you can provide some communication strategies to the employer to make the message clearer.

Ask them to:

  • Look directly at you when speaking.
  • State the topic of discussion.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • First repeat, then try to rephrase the statement.
  • Use gestures.
  • Avoid standing in front of a light source when speaking.

There are various communication strategies you can use when you are in group situations, such as department meetings, at work.

  • Explain that round or semicicular tables will allow you to see everyone's face
  • Explain that you may need to sit next to or across from the speaker so you can see the speaker's face
  • Make sure only one person speaks at a time and have the person indicate when he/she is speaking
  • Use visual aids and ask that time be given to read the information before person starts speaking
  • Asked that an agenda of the topics to be discussed at the meeting be handed out ahead of time and ask that notes be taken to distribute after the meeting
Disclosure Questions and Answers:
Telling Interviewers or Employers that You Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

When you are looking for a co-op or full-time position, one of the things you need to consider is when or if you inform an employer that you are deaf or hard of hearing. There is not one right or wrong way. Each applicant should make a personal decision on this issue, for example: to inform on a resume or cover letter, or to wait until invited for an interview. Some employers have reported that they appreciate knowing your communication preference before the interview so they can make appropriate arrangements for communication.

Q: Whose responsibility is it to bring up accommodations?

A: It is your responsibility to tell the employer if you will need accommodations to do the job. For information on accommodations, see the Services and Equipment section below. If you do not tell the employer you need an accommodation, they are not responsible to provide one. Have several accommodation options ready (for example, interpreter, writing, laptop, speechreading), because your preference may not be possible or available.

Q: What steps shall I take if the employer wants to do the interview (or just the first interview) by telephone?

A: Many companies today routinely interview (screen) applicants briefly by telephone first, then decide if they will interview them in person. If the employer prefers a telephone interview, consider what technology (relay service, instant messaging, captioned telephone) will be best for you. Reply quickly to an employer's request for a telephone interview. Be ready to suggest what will best fit your needs, and explain how and why that will work.

Q: What do I need to do to make sure we have good communication for a face-to-face interview?

A: The interview is an important time to have several accommodation options ready (for example, interpreter, writing, laptop, speechreading), because your preference may not be possible or available.

If you want to have a sign language interpreter, it is a good idea to be ready to provide the employer with contact information for interpreter/referral agencies in the area that can provide that service. You can get information about agencies on the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website

Be prepared to discuss how you would handle all aspects of communication on the job–meetings, telephone contacts and conversation.

Q: If I have other disabilities do I need to inform my employer?

A: If you have other disabilities and do not need any accommodations to do the job, there is no reason to inform your employer. For example, if you have a learning disability that is not related to your ability to do the job, then you do not have to share this with a potential employer.

If you have other disabilities and do need accommodations for the interview, or to do the job, it is your responsibility to tell them. If you do not tell the employer you need an accommodation, they are not responsible to provide one.

Q: If I have questions about disclosing my hearing loss or deafness to an employer, who should I talk to?

A: You can talk about disclosure and accommodations with your employment advisor, and your vocational rehabilitation counselor, if you have one.

Employers want to know how to communicate with a deaf or hard-of-hearing employee. Be ready to offer some suggestions when you are first meeting employers. Mention communicating with an electronic device like a computer, iPad or iPhone  is quicker than writing things back and forth. Offer to teach some basic signs to your supervisor and co-workers if you use sign language. For more information, see One-to-One Communication Strategies and Communicating in a Group sections above.

For your interview, be prepared to explain some strategies, services and equipment that can be very effective in the workplace. Depending on your needs, provide information about how to obtain these services and equipment:

Sign Language Interpreters

Sign language interpreters facilitate communication between hearing people who don’t know sign language and deaf or hard-of-hearing people who use sign language. Situations that may require an interpreter are: employment interviews, orientations, training and large meetings, as well as when meeting with a supervisor about work performance. To find sign language interpreters in your area, see the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Video Remote Interpreting

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) uses an off-site interpreter to facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people who can either be all together in a meeting room or in a one-to-one situation. To find information about VRI services, visit the Job Accommodation Network.

Relay Services

There are various types of relay services. Telecommunications relay services provide telephone service that allows hearing and deaf and hard-of-hearing people to communicate with each other. Telecommunications relay services are available in all U.S. states and territories for local and/or long distance calls at no additional cost to the consumer.

Video relay services (VRS) enable deaf or hard-of-hearing people who use American Sign Language and some deaf people who use their voice to communicate through video equipment such as videophone, smartphone or computer.

A) Using Sign Language
Videophone (VP): Using an internet connection, the deaf individuals uses his or her voice and speaks directly to the person they are calling.  The interpreter signs the hearing person's responses. Man signing to camera, with interpreter and communicant on split screen.
Smart Phone/Tablet: On a smart phone or a tablet, deaf and hard-of-hearing people can communicate with either a hearing or a deaf person. Woman signing to camera on tablet, with split screen of communicants.
Computer: Whether a deaf person has a PC or a Mac, a desktop or a laptop computer, if it has a webcam, she or he can download free software from video relay service (VRS) providers of his or her choice to make and receive video relay calls to or from hearing callers and point-to-point video calls when communicating with other deaf people. Man signing to camera using computer.
B) Using Voice
Videophone (VP) uses an internet connection with which a deaf individual can use his or her voice to speak directly to the person they are calling.  The interpreter signs the hearing person's responses which the deaf person can see on a videophone monitor.
Voice Carry Over is a technology that allows people to speak directly to the person they are calling, then read that person's response on a display on their phone, videophone, tablet or computer.
Web-captioned telephone is a web-based service that allows the callers to read real-time, word-for-word transcriptions of their calls on a computer monitor or laptop. It is used by deaf or hard-of-hearing people who prefer using their own voice aided by technology to communicate by phone.” Woman talking on phone and spoken words are shown in text on computer screen.
Captioned Telephone, such as a Captel phone, has a built-in screen that displays in text everything being said by the other person.”

Woman talking on phone and words are shown on small screen on the phone device itself.
Close-up of the small screen on the phone device.

C) Using Text

Online Relay (includes tablets, smart phone. etc.): The online relay service allows deaf or hard-of-hearing people to use a computer or other device to type a text message. When a hearing person is speaking, the operator is typing what he or she says so the deaf person can read it. A relay operator converts text to voice and voice to text.


Notetaking is a common accommodation that can be used in a variety of situations such as everyday meetings or last minute meetings in the workplace when an interpreter is not available.

Visual Alerts
Visual alerting technology such as a doorbell, smoke alarm, telephone, weather alert signalers all can bring information about sounds that need to be brought to the deaf or hard-of-hearing individual’s attention.
Montage of photos of fire alarm, phone adapter, and ceiling warning light alarm
Visual Alerts

Job Search Strategies

It is important to take the time to research a company to learn more about an employer you are interested in working for. The more you know about a company, the better prepared you will be when you ask about employment opportunities and interview with the company.

The information you collect about a company will help you determine:

  • If the company hires people with your job skills
  • If it is a type of business you want to work for
  • What to say in your cover letter, calls and company visits
  • What questions to ask during an interview

When researching a company, you will want to know:

  • Company name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  • If the company hires people with your job skills
  • Name (job title) of the position you're interested in and what qualifications are needed for the position
  • Product or service provided by the company
  • Who the company's customers are
  • How long the company has been in business and if there's more than one location
  • Stability of the company (is business growing or shrinking?)
  • How many people work for the company
  • Specific name(s) of:
    • Manager of department you want to work in
    • Person to contact about possible job openings

Resources that can be used to research companies and jobs:

  • Company's website
  • Company's annual reports, product or service pamphlets, employment brochures
  • Library reference books, magazines, newspapers
  • Internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.)
  • Job service office
  • Family and friends who know or work at the company

Tips for Researching:

  • Use a variety of resources
  • Keep records on what you find out about the company
  • Continue researching because a company's business is always changing
Contacting Employers through the Phone

Do you have all of the following information ready?

  • Name of the companies/businesses you are calling
  • Name of the people or departments you want to contact
  • Telephone numbers and extensions of the contact people
  • Copies of your resume and script (what you plan to say)
  • Paper and pencil to write down information during the call
  • Calendar

What is the goal of your call?

  • Inquiring about a co-op or permanent position
  • Following up on a job that was advertised
  • Following up on a resume that you sent

Who is the best person to speak to?

  • The person you sent your resume to
  • Department manager
  • Human Resources contact person

What is the best way for someone to contact you in the future?

  • E-mail, Phone, or Regular Mail

What do you want to say? (script)

  • Introduce yourself: "Hello, my name is _____. I am a second year student majoring in _____ at Rochester Institute of Technology (the National Technical Institute for the Deaf) in Rochester, N.Y."
  • Explain why you are calling: "I sent you a resume recently. I am looking for a summer cooperative work experience (co-op) in _____."
  • Ask about job openings: "I was wondering if you expect to have any openings in my field this summer?"

When you reach the correct person:

  • Ask if they received your resume.
  • If not, say that you will mail or email another copy.
  • Ask about job openings.
  • Ask about the possibility of an interview.

If the person wants to meet with you,

  • Be prepared to schedule a date and time.
  • Ask for specific directions.
  • Confirm the information before you hang up.
  • Thank the person for speaking to you.

If there are no job openings,

  • Ask for other suggestions (networking): "Could you suggest other people or places I can contact in your area about a possible job?," "Do you know of any open positions somewhere else?"
  • Thank the person for speaking to you.

Important Tips

  • Keep a written log of all contacts (phone, mail, e-mail).
  • Be familiar with your resume and script.
  • Avoid calling on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
  • Be professional, enthusiastic, and friendly.
  • Keep calls short and simple.
  • If you mail or email another resume, contact them again soon.
  • Don't sit back and wait for them to call you!
Visiting Employers

During your job search, you may decide to apply by going to the employer location, and giving your resume to someone there. You can make a good impression in person, and learn more about the employer, by seeing the workplace and getting more information. There may be company brochures you can take, and they might have a paper application that you can complete. Job descriptions may be posted on a bulletin board.

Dress professionally to match the work environment.

Below are some things you can say when you visit. You can type this information, and bring a printout with you to the employer location. It saves time writing there and shows you came prepared.

To the receptionist:
"I would like to apply for a summer (or permanent) job. Can you please tell me where to go to do that?"

To the person in Human Resources:
"Hello, my name is _______, and I am a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, enrolled through the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. I am working on an associate degree in (major). I am looking for a summer (or permanent job) in (type of work). Here is my resume.

I am wondering if you will have that kind of work available?

Thank you for your time and consideration."

When you go to the employer location for an interview, you may have to see a receptionist, and sometimes a secretary, before you meet the interviewer. Here is an introduction example:

"I am Mary Smith. I have a 10:00 appointment with the Human Resources Manager, Mr. Lockley, in the Business Resources Division."

One of the best ways to find employment opportunities is through networking; asking people you know to help you with your job search. Your network can help you find job openings and make contact with employers. Many jobs are not advertised to the general public and may only be known by the people working at the company. These jobs, called the hidden job market, are often found through networking.

What is networking?

  • Making contact with people you know and informing them that you are looking for a job
  • Asking people in your network for contact information for employers or other people they know who might be able to help you find a job

Why network?

  • To make others aware of your job search to see if they can give you information about possible job openings
  • To find out about jobs that are in the hidden job market
  • To make new employer contacts

Who should you network with?

  • Everyone!
  • Family members
  • Friends and neighbors
  • Former supervisors and co-workers
  • Former or current teachers, coaches, classmates, and VR counselors
  • Members of your place of worship, community groups, and gym

How do you network?

  • Contact people you know, and let them know you are looking for a job.
  • Describe the kind of work you are looking for.
  • Ask if they know of any companies that are hiring or if they know of any companies where you could apply for a job.
  • Ask them for the names of other people you can contact who would be willing to help you and be part of your network.
  • Give your resume to people in your network to share with employers whenever they see job opportunities for you.
  • Make professional connections through LinkedIn.
  • Research the employers attending the fair.
  • Make a list of employers that you want to see.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring copies of your resume.
  • Smile and make eye contact when you approach the recruiter.
  • Introduce yourself and shake hands.
  • Introduce the interpreter, if one is with you.
  • Explain your field and the type of job you are seeking.
  • Give the recruiter your resume.
  • Ask about the types of positions the company is looking to fill.
  • Be prepared to discuss communication strategies.
  • Ask for a business card.
  • Thank the recruiter for his/her time.
  • Make notes after speaking to each employer.
  • Follow up by calling or sending a message within 7-10 days.
  • Keep a record of all contacts with employers.

Job Search Documents

The resume is a job search tool that provides an employer with a brief description of your education, job skills and work experience. A well organized resume, with no spelling or grammar mistakes, will help you to get an interview with an employer.

Video about how to build a resume

Sample Resumes by Major (NTID)
Sample Resumes for BS, MS Level Programs

RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education provides a variety of BS and MS level sample resumes; explore them here!

Resume Content
  • Contact information
    • name, address, e-mail address, telephone and relay number (optional)
  • Objective
    • type of position desired
  • Education
    • do not include high school education if attending or have graduated from college
    • GPA if 3.0 or above, Dean's list
  • Job skills related to the position desired
  • Work experience and volunteer experience
    • company name, city and state location
    • month/year started job and the month/year ended job
    • job title
    • brief description of responsibilities
  • Outstanding achievements (awards, scholarships)
  • Activities (optional)
  • Phrase at bottom saying "references and portfolio available upon request"
Remember to:
  • See your NCCC employment advisor for help with listing the technical skills for your major
  • Have someone with good spelling and grammar skills proofread the resume
  • Print the resume on high quality paper (resume paper)
  • Make sure the resume is professional looking and easy to read
  • Send the resume to several people through e-mail, to make sure the format that is transmitted is readable, before e-mailing the resume to an employer (using 'plain' text format is usually the best way to e-mail a resume)
  • List education and jobs in reverse order starting with the most recent
  • Keep the information on the resume brief, one page is best

Note: People who have been working for a while since college should move the education section under the job skills and work experience sections.

There is a difference between the regular resume used when applying for jobs with private companies and the resume used when applying for jobs with federal agencies.

The resume used to apply for jobs with the federal government require much more detailed information, including personal information you would not put on a regular resume, and can be more than two pages long. The resume used to apply for jobs with companies or non-profit agencies are generally one to two pages and the information is not as detailed.

The federal government’s job posting website, www.usajobs.gov has a tool on its website to help applicants build a resume to use when applying for jobs with the federal government.

Additional resources for writing a federal resume are:

Schedule A Hiring Authority

Federal agencies are required to promote equal employment opportunities for U.S. citizens with disabilities. U.S. citizenship is required for federal employment. These agencies can use special hiring authorities as one strategy for recruiting and hiring qualified individuals. The Schedule A Hiring Authority allows qualified individuals with disabilities to be considered without going through the regular competitive application process.

Who is Eligible for Schedule A?

You are eligible for Schedule A if you:

  • Have a significant disability that qualifies you. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students and graduates of RIT/NTID qualify.
  • Have written proof (Schedule A letter) of disability from any one of the following:
    • a licensed medical professional;
    • a state or private vocational rehabilitation specialist;
    • any government agency that issues or provides disability benefits.
  • Have the qualifications for any federal positions for which you are applying.
  • Schedule A letter example you can provide to your doctor, vocational rehabilitation specialist or government agency that issues or provides disability benefits.

How to Apply for Schedule A Hiring Authority

If you decide to apply to a federal agency and take advantage of the Schedule A hiring authority, check with the agency to see if they will accept a letter indicating proof of disability from NTID. If they will, you can go to the Communication Studies and Services department in LBJ 60-3115 to make an appointment to request a Schedule A letter or send an email to Audiology@rit.edu to request a Schedule A letter.

If a federal agency will not accept a Schedule A letter from NTID, you will need to provide other proof as indicated in the section above.

Note: The Schedule A letter is valid for one year and must be requested yearly.

Different types of letters are needed during the job search process. Sometimes they will be sent by postal mail, printed on high quality paper (the same paper used for the resume and reference list, with matching envelopes), and other times by e-mail.

All letters sent to employers should be professional in appearance and language to make a good impression. Have someone with good writing, spelling and grammar skills proofread each letter before it is sent.

For all employment letters, there are six parts. Separate each part with a blank line.

  1. Return address
    Sender's Address
    City, State Zip Code
  2. Inside address
    Name of Person
    Person's Job Title
    Person's Department
    Name of Company
    Company's Address
    City, State Zip Code

    It is best to send a letter to a specific person, but if the name and job title can't be found, substitute the words Employment Manager.
  3. Salutation
    Choose from
    • Dear Mr. Last Name:
    • Dear Ms. Last Name:
    • Dear Dr. Last Name:
    • Dear Employment Manager:

    Use a colon at the end of the salutation, and don't include the person's first name in the salutation, unless he or she is a friend.
  4. Body
    Be brief and keep it simple. See examples.
  5. Complimentary Close
    Choose from
    • Sincerely,
    • Yours truly,
    • Very truly yours,

    Use a comma at the end of the close, and leave four blank lines, so the sender can sign in that space. Use black or blue ink for the signature on printed letters.
  6. Sender's Name

    Type formal full name.

A cover letter is always sent with a resume, by postal mail or e-mail, to explain how you qualify for work in your field with that employer. The purpose of sending a letter and resume is to get an interview. Research the organization and use the information in the letter to show you know something about it.

Typical Structure of a Cover Letter
  • (First paragraph) Explain what position or type of work you are looking for.
  • (Second paragraph) Highlight your relevant skills, experience, and personal qualities that will help the employer, and refer to your enclosed/attached resume for more details.
  • (Third paragraph) Say that you will contact the employer soon to schedule a meeting, and state the best way to contact you if he/she has any questions.
  • (Fourth paragraph) Thank the individual and mention that you look forward to hearing from him/her.

Click here to see a video to learn more about cover letters

Sample Cover Letters by Major

Example Cover Letter

260 Colony Manor Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
October 15, 2010

Ms. Cynthia S. Edmonds
Director, Human Resources
Norton Manufacturing Company
1400 Simmons Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

Dear Ms. Edmonds:

I am a student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of the colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology. I am majoring in Accounting Technology, and am pursuing an associate degree, which I expect to receive in May of next year. As required by my program, I am seeking a 10-week summer cooperative work experience. My classes end in late May and I am available to begin work in early June.

I am looking for a position that will offer the opportunity to provide assistance as an accounting clerk. My college courses have provided me with basic knowledge of spreadsheet, database, word processing, and electronic messaging concepts. My enclosed resume indicates procedures and software with which I am familiar. I have had some work experience as an accounting clerk for Marriott Food Services, and as an office assistant with Hyatt Legal Services, where I performed bookkeeping duties, verified invoices, and processed checks and mail. Additionally, I am a hardworking, personable, flexible person who would like very much to work for Norton Manufacturing, and support your growing business.

I will contact you soon to schedule a meeting with you. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at jrs345@rit.edu. You may also call my Employment Advisor, Nathan Petosky, at (585) 475-0000.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


John R. Smith

A letter to apply for an advertised job opening is always sent with a resume, by postal mail or e-mail, to explain how you qualify for the available position with that employer. The purpose of sending a letter and resume is to hopefully get an opportunity to interview. Research the organization and use the information in the letter to show you know something about it.

  • (First paragraph) State the job title of the position you are applying for, and the name and date of the publication or Website where you found the ad.
  • (Second paragraph) Highlight your relevant skills, experience, and personal qualities that match what is wanted in the ad, and refer to your enclosed/attached resume for more details.
  • (Third paragraph) Say that you will contact the employer soon to schedule a meeting, and state the best way to contact you if he/she has any questions.
  • (Fourth paragraph) Thank the individual and mention that you look forward to hearing from him/her.

Keep a copy of each letter. If you don't hear from the employer in a couple of weeks, follow up. See Contacting Employers Using the Relay Service with a Relay Operator.

Example Application Letter

34 Bennington Drive
Portsmouth, MN 55410
September 18, 2010

Mr. Thomas Hadley
Accounting Manager
Redfield Distributors
75 Acorn Way
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Dear Mr. Hadley:

Your advertisement of the position of Accounting Manager, reference number 7375, posted September 15, 2010 on careerbuilder.com interests me very much. I recently relocated to the Minneapolis area and would like to apply for the job.

The position description sounds very similar to my most recent position of Accounting Manager at Sunray Corporation, where I supervised and trained a staff of 25 employees. I was responsible for all centralized accounting, management information systems, and internal control policies and procedures. In addition, I prepared monthly capital budget variance reports and provided project management support for several groups. I was recognized for streamlining the department's activities.

Previously I worked as a Financial Analyst for Alba Business Consulting Services, and was involved in strategic planning and forecasting for senior management of a national corporation. Because of my success there, I was asked to prepare federal and state tax requirements for the entire company. I learned from the Redfield Distributors website that you are looking to start distributing outside of Minnesota, and I would be excited to contribute to that new aspect of your business, given my experience with commerce in different states. In addition, I have a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. My attached resume gives you more details on my professional experience and activities.

I will contact you soon to schedule a meeting with you. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at dsmith@telenet.com.

Thank you. I look forward to meeting with you and further discussing my qualifications for the position.


Donna Smith

Follow-up e-mail if you have not heard back from the employer:

It is a good idea to send an e-mail to an employer if you have not had a response to your cover letter and resume after two weeks.  Employers receive many letters and resumes. This is a way to show the employer that you are still very interested in their company and that you have good qualifications to offer them.  It will remind them of you, and show your motivation to work for their company.

Dear Ms Powers:

I am writing to follow up on my previous cover letter and resume sent to you on October 5. As mentioned, I am a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology majoring in (the name of your major).  I am seeking a 10 week co-op or internship for the summer of 2017 using technical skills I've developed in my major .  I have done  research on (use the name of the company) and feel that I would be a perfect fit for your company because of my proven skills in (list a few skills you can use on co-op with this company).  Attached is another copy of my resume for your review.

I would like to arrange a time to meet with you to discuss a summer co-op or internship opportunity with your company.  I can be contacted at (provide your email address and phone number if you have one).

Thank you very much for considering my qualifications. 

Your Name

A thank-you letter is sent within 24 hours of an interview, by postal mail or e-mail, to each person who interviewed you. Use the letter to emphasize your interest in the job and how you qualify for the position.

  • (First paragraph) Thank the interviewer for his/her time, express your pleasure in meeting him/her, and learning more about the job and organization.
  • (Second paragraph) Briefly re-emphasize how your skills, experience, and personal qualities make you a good candidate for the position, and how you can assist the organization if you are hired.
  • (Third paragraph) Say that you appreciate being considered, and that you look forward to hearing from him/her about the job.
Example Thank-you Letter

27 Southcross Trail
Fairhaven, CT 06513
November 1, 2010

Ms. Miriam Seymour
Human Resources Generalist
Superior Graphics
222 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

Dear Ms. Seymour:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on November 1, 2010 to discuss the position of Graphics Assistant in the production department. I enjoyed meeting you, and I appreciate you giving me more information about the opening and your organization. After we talked, I am even more interested in the job, and supporting Superior Graphic's reputation for providing high quality marketing communication solutions for each of your clients.

As we discussed, I believe my knowledge, abilities and previous work experience in computer publishing, digital image manipulation and web production meet and exceed the requirements for the position. My creativity and attention to detail, along with a proven ability to follow given technical specifications and meet deadlines, would be a perfect match for your work environment. With my passion for different media, I would be eager to take on projects myself, or contribute to a team, to deliver the current and effective electronic and print products your clients demand.

I appreciate you considering me and look forward to hearing from you about your hiring decision.


Beverly Carter

Often in an interview, the interviewer will ask for a reference list. This is a list that has names and contact information for people who know you well and are willing to say positive things about your work and personal qualities.

Video about references

What is a reference list?

(click here for example)

  • It is a page that is separate from your resume
  • It lists 3 or 4 people who know you well, and are willing to talk to potential employers about your personality and skills
Who can be a reference?
  • People you have asked and are willing to be your reference
  • Former employers or co-workers
  • Former or current teachers
  • Former or current academic counselors
  • Not relatives or friends
What do you do with the reference list?
  • Bring copies of it with you to interviews (use high quality resume paper)
  • Include it in your portfolio
What does the reference list contain?
  • Your name, address, e-mail address, telephone and relay number (optional)
  • The name, job title, employer name, address and contact information for each of your references

Send a letter by postal mail or e-mail, when you accept or turn down a job offer, so that there is a written record of your decision. Evaluate the offer carefully before you send the letter. See "Job Negotiation" for more information. When you accept the offer, it is a commitment you make to the employer, and you can not change your mind.

To accept:

  • Express thanks for the offer of the position, using the exact job title, with the date you received the offer.
  • Say how pleased you are to accept the offer at the stated salary, and confirm the date you will start working.
  • State that you are looking forward to working at the organization.

Example Acceptance Letter

Box 4145
30 Lowenthal Road
Rochester, NY 14623
June 15, 2010

Mr. Harry Cronkite
ABC Limited
4903 Midtown Avenue
Hershey, NY 14389

Dear Mr. Cronkite:
Thank you for your letter of June 10, 2010 in which you offered me the position of Lab Technician. I am very happy to be able to accept the offer at the stated salary of $25,000 per year. The July 1, 2010 start date is fine for me.

I am looking forward to working at ABC Limited.


Susan Smith

Example Decline Letter

21 Colorado St.
Rochester, NY 14623
August 15, 2010

Ms. Mary Smith
Personal Manager
Peterbilt Trucks, Inc.
P.O. Box 1234
Harrisburg, PA 10036

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for your letter of July 30, 2010, in which you offered me the position of Mechanical Engineer. However, I am unable to accept the offer because I have decided to accept a position with a firm closer to my hometown.

Thank you for your time and your interest in me. Best wishes in filling the job opening.


Robert Wabash


Learn more how to conduct email correspondence.

Writing Business Emails

There is a difference between sending e-mail correspondence to an employer and sending e-mail to friends. The format and wording of e-mail sent to an employer must be professional and business-like, not casual. There is etiquette, or certain rules, that must be followed when sending e-mail correspondence to an employer.

When sending e-mail correspondence to employers:

  • Use a business letter format. For more information, see Correspondence.
  • Use a professional salutation ("Dear Mr. Johnson:", instead of "Hey" or "Hello").
  • Do not use a cute, personal or suggestive e-mail address (i.e., hotpink@aol.com ).
  • State the topic of your e-mail in the subject line.
  • Keep your message brief with important details.
  • Do not use abbreviations.
  • Do not use emoticons (little smiley faces).
  • Use correct spelling and proper grammar.

A portfolio is a visual way to highlight your skills during a job interview. Presenting your work is a crucial part of the hiring process. A portfolio should demonstrate creative ability, technical skills and ideas. It will leave a lasting impression about your unique style, talent and experience. It is probably the most important marketing tool you will create.

Video about portfolios

Portfolio Contents
  • Resume
  • Reference list
  • Samples of work showing your job skills (5 to 8)
  • For College Students:
    • Information on major/education
    • Course curriculum
Types of Portfolios

Make sure to have an electronic and a paper printout portfolio with you for the interview

  • Traditional (print) – an actual book with printed examples of your work.
  • Electronic portfolio - (i.e., PDF, distributed by CD/DVD, email or internet download.
  • Professional Webpage – an interactive site showing examples of your work.
Developing your best portfolio:
  • Remember neatness and careful organization are important.
  • Include high quality samples/projects.
  • Select samples from last 2 years of college or employment.
  • Put your best work first.
  • Label each sample with information on how you created the work (i.e., software, equipment and materials).
  • Practice presenting your portfolio with your employment advisor, faculty members and professional people.

For an example of showing a portfolio during an interview,

Job Search Links

There are many resources for job seekers on the internet. In addition to listing job openings, many offer suggestions and advice as well as provide links to other sites having employment-related resources.

Art/Design/Imaging Employment Links

Business Employment Links

Computer Employment Links

Engineering Employment Links

Print/Publishing Employment Links

Science and Math Employment Links

There are many resources for students on the internet. In addition to listing job openings, many offer suggestions and advice as well as provide links to other sites having employment-related resources. Here are some you can start with:

Career Topics
City Information
Deaf Worker Profiles
Employment and Disability Links
Job Search Guides
Temporary Housing
Arizona @ Work
Public Service Careers

The Interview

Many companies screen applicants over the telephone. How well you do will depend on your preparation for such calls and the impression you make. Here are some tips:

1. Any telephone calls or videophone calls during your job search could be an employer. Answer the phone appropriately every time; first impressions are important.

2. Some employers may e-mail you to set up a specific time for a telephone interview.  There are a few ways you can handle this: 

  • Now might be a good time to inform the employer that you are deaf or hard of hearing if the employer does not already know.
  • You can give the employer representative your phone or VP number and let them call you or
  • We recommend that you ask the representative for a phone number so you can initiate the call.  The advantages to this are you can take time to become comfortable with the interpreter, tell the interpreter it is a real interview situation, consider getting a same-sex interpreter,  take time to discuss technical vocabulary and allow the interpreter to become accustomed to your signing so the interpreter can represent you well.
  • Here is an example of what you could say to explain your telecommunication choice:  “To make communication easier, I would like to take advantage of a video relay service.  I will be happy to initiate the call to you using this service.  When the phone connection is made, you will receive a normal phone call.  You will hear the voice of a relay operator voicing for me, and I will see him or her signing for you on my videophone.”  (In a similar way, you could explain online relay, VCO or captioned telephone.).  For assistance see Telecommunications and Relay Services under the Equipment and Services section.

3. Keep the following items next to your telephone, computer or videophone: paper, pen, copy of your resume, date book, a log of companies you have contacted, your own course schedule including major exams/projects,  a copy of the job description and questions ready to ask based on your research.

4. At the beginning of the interview be sure to let the interviewer know that for VRS, Captioned telephone or online relay, there may be a slight time lag before he or she receives your response from the relay operator.

5. Use your response to express energy and enthusiasm.

6. It’s okay to take a little bit of time to think about what you will answer or ask next.

7. Don't hang up before you know the next step and thank the interviewer for the interview.

8. Be sure to get the interviewer's title and other contact information for follow up.

9. For questions, contact your NCCC employment advisor .

A first impression from the employer is made in the first 30 seconds. It is important to dress for success. If you are dressed too casually (blue jeans, sneakers, t-shirt), the employer may think you are not serious about working. What you wear should look professional, for interviews, employer visits and job fairs.

  • General
    • Talk to professionals in your career for advice on what to wear.
    • Look clean and neat. Make sure that your hair is done appropriately.
    • Do not wear strong-smelling perfume or cologne as many people are allergic.
    • Cover any tattoos and remove any visible body piercing. Conservative earrings are acceptable.
  • For Women
    • Wear a professional suit, simple dress or slacks with a jacket. The appropriate colors are navy blue, black, dark green, dark red, burgundy, or gray.
    • Avoid wearing clothes that are tight, revealing or trendy. It may be the very latest fashion but it will not impress the employer.
    • Fingernails should be trimmed and the color of nail polish should not be too bright or dark.
  • For Men
    • Wear a suit or sport jacket with color-coordinated trousers. The color should be neutral or dark. The best colors are blue, black or gray.
    • Wear a tie, even if you will never wear one after you get the job.
    • Shoes should be cleaned and polished - black or brown are best.
    • Head and facial hair should be trimmed.
    • Make sure your nails are trimmed and that they are clean.

Even after you are successful in getting the job, you should continue to pay attention to your wardrobe. You should regularly add pieces made of high quality, long wearing fabrics. It is best to buy separates that you can mix and match with the pieces that you already own.

Preparing for an Interview

Video about interviewing

Communication During the Interview

Placeholder for video about interviewing

Both videos were developed in the course of agreement between the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education Grant Award #H326D060001 and #H326D060002 and the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet). Additional information about the pepnet 2 Getting a Job! resources can be found at this website.


Interviewing with an Interpreter
  • As soon as you know the date, time and location of your interview, ask the company if they can provide an interpreter. If not, you are responsible for arranging for an interpreter for the interview. Contact your Employment Advisor, VR counselor or an interpreting referral agency to make arrangements. Ask for an interpreter who is knowledgeable in your career area if possible.
  • Meet with the interpreter before the interview (20 - 30 minutes) to discuss your communication preferences and to review technical sign vocabulary.
  • Take responsibility for effective communication by introducing the interpreter to the interviewer and briefly explaining his/her role.
  • Hello, I'm John Smith. Kathy Jones is here to facilitate our communication. She will communicate everything that is said or signed. Do you mind if she sits next to you so I can see you both at the same time? Thank you.
Interviewing without an Interpreter
  • Prepare an introduction for the receptionist/secretary/staff assistant :
  • "I am Mary Smith. I have a 10:00 appointment with the manager, Mr. Man, of the marketing department."
  • Bring your resume and examples of your work. You can use these to help answer questions by referring to them.
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer. Ask the interviewer to look directly at you when she/he speaks.
  • Make sure you understand questions the interviewer asks you. If you are not sure you understand the question, ask the interviewer to repeat or write down the question.
  • When writing, keep your answers short and to the point and use proper grammar. Be as accurate with the technical information as possible and know the names of equipment and software you can use.
  • Explain the best way for the interviewer to contact you (e-mail, use of relay service, etc.).

No two interviews are the same.  Here is a list of questions to give you an idea of what the interviewer could ask.  Please review your answers with your employment advisor or your professor.

Possible interview questions:

  • Did you have any trouble finding the office?
  • Tell me a little about yourself?
  • What job are you applying for?
  • Do you have a resume for me?
  • Why did you decide to attend NTID/RIT?
  • Why are you interested in this kind of work?
  • What skills do you have in this field?
  • What do you like doing the most in this field?
  • What do you like doing the least?
  • Why are you interested in our organization?
  • What are some of your strengths?
  • What are some of your weaknesses?
  • Tell me a problem or a challenge you recently had, and how did you solve it?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • Give me an example of when you had to do a lot of extra work to help finish a project?
  • Do you like to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Tell me about a time when you influenced a team to get something done?
  • What have you learned from your past work experience?
  • How do you/will you communicate with other workers?
  • Have you ever worked with a person who was hard to get along with, and how did you handle that?
  • Why should I hire you and not the other people who are applying for this job?
  • What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now, and where?
  • Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • Do you have a list of references?
  • What is the best way to contact you?

Below are questions designed to learn about an applicant’s behavior in the following categories and suggestions on how to prepare your own answers:

  • Give an example of your ability to build motivation in your co-workers, classmates, and even if on a volunteer committee.
  • What is the toughest group that you have had to get cooperation from? Describe how you handled it. What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever been a member of a group where two of the members did not work well together? What did you do to get them to do so?
  • Give an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Tell me about an important goal that you set in the past. Were you successful? Why?
  • Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
  • How would you define “success” for someone in your chosen career?
Planning and Organization
  • What have you done in order to be effective with your organization and planning?
  • How do you schedule your time? Set priorities? How do you handle doing twenty things at once?
  • What do you do when your time schedule or project plan is upset by unforeseen circumstances? Give an example.
  • Describe how you develop a project team’s goals and project plan?
  • Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • What was your most difficult decision in the last 6 months? What made it difficult?
  • What kind of decisions do you make rapidly? What kind takes more time? Give examples.
  • Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you.
  • Describe the most significant written document, report or presentation which you had to complete.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you.
  • Have you had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers, classmates or group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?
Interpersonal Skills
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to effectively “read” another person and guide your actions by your understanding of their needs and values.
  • What have you done in past situations to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
  • Describe a recent unpopular decision you made and what the result was.
  • Tell me about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you’ve ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with them.
  • Give me an example of when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Give me examples of projects/tasks you started on your own.
  • Give some instances in which you anticipated problems and were able to influence a new direction.
  • Describe the types of teams you’ve been involved with. What were your roles?
  • Describe a team experience you found rewarding.
  • Describe a team experience you found disappointing. What would you have done to prevent this?

Your academic knowledge and skills may be spectacular, but do you have the social skills needed to be successful in the workplace? Good professional etiquette indicates to potential employers that you are a mature, responsible adult who can aptly represent their company. Not knowing proper etiquette could damage your image, prevent you from getting a job and jeopardize personal and business relationships.

Meeting and Greeting

Etiquette begins with meeting and greeting. Terry Cobb, human resource director at Wachovia Corporation in South Carolina's Palmetto region, emphasizes the importance of making a good first impression—beginning with the handshake. A firm shake, he says, indicates to employers that you're confident and assertive. A limp handshake, on the other hand, sends the message that you're not interested or qualified for the job. Dave Owenby, human resources manager for North and South Carolina at Sherwin Williams, believes, "Good social skills include having a firm handshake, smiling, making eye contact and closing the meeting with a handshake."

The following basic rules will help you get ahead in the workplace:

  • Always rise when introducing or being introduced to someone.
  • Provide information in making introductions - you are responsible for keeping the conversation going. "Joe, please meet Ms. Crawford, CEO at American Enterprise, Inc., in Cleveland." "Mr. Jones, this is Kate Smith, a senior majoring in computer information systems at Northwestern University."
  • Unless given permission, always address someone by his or her title and last name.
  • Practice a firm handshake. Make eye contact while shaking hands.


Shirley Willey, owner of Etiquette & Company in Carmichael, Calif., reports that roughly 80% of second interviews involve a business meal. Cobb remembers one candidate who had passed his initial interview with flying colors. Because the second interview was scheduled close to noon, Cobb decided to conduct the interview over lunch. Initially, the candidate was still in the "interview" mode and maintained his professionalism. After a while, however, he became more relaxed—and that's when the candidate's real personality began to show. He had terrible table manners, made several off-color remarks and spoke negatively about previous employers. Needless to say, Cobb was unimpressed, and the candidate did not get the job.

Remember that an interview is always an interview, regardless of how relaxed or informal the setting. Anything that is said or done will be considered by the interviewer, cautions Cobb.

In order to make a good impression during a lunch or dinner interview, make sure you:

  • Arrive on time.
  • Wait to sit until the host/hostess indicates the seating arrangement.
  • Place napkin in lap before eating or drinking anything.
  • When ordering, keep in mind that this is a talking business lunch. Order something easy to eat, such as boneless chicken or fish.
  • Do not hold the order up because you cannot make a decision. Feel free to ask for suggestions from others at the table.
  • Wait to eat until everyone has been served.
  • Keep hands in lap unless you are using them to eat.
  • Practice proper posture; sit up straight with your arms close to your body.
  • Bring food to your mouth—not your head to the plate.
  • Try to eat at the same pace as everyone else.
  • Take responsibility for keeping up the conversation.
  • Place napkin on chair seat if excusing yourself for any reason.
  • Place napkin beside plate at the end of the meal.
  • Push chair under table when excusing yourself.


Follow these simple rules for eating and drinking:

  • Start eating with the implement that is farthest away from your plate. You may have two spoons and two forks. The spoon farthest away from your plate is a soup spoon. The fork farthest away is a salad fork unless you have three forks, one being much smaller, which would be a seafood fork for an appetizer. The dessert fork/spoon is usually above the plate. Remember to work from the outside in.
  • Dip soup away from you; sip from the side of the spoon.
  • Season food only after you have tasted it.
  • Pass salt and pepper together—even if asked for only one.
  • Pass all items to the right. If the item has a handle, such as a pitcher, pass with the handle toward the next person. For bowls with spoons, pass with the spoon ready for the next person. If you are the one to reach to the center of the table for an item, pass it before serving yourself.
  • While you are speaking during a meal, utensils should be resting on plate (fork and knife crossed on the plate with tines down).
  • Don't chew with your mouth open or blow on your food.

The interviewer will usually take care of the bill and the tip. Be prepared, however, if this doesn't happen and have small bills ready to take care of your part, including the tip. Never make an issue of the check.

Social skills can make or break your career. Kenitra Matheson, human resource director with Dellinger and Deese in Charlotte, N.C., emphasizes, "Etiquette and social skills are a must! Our employees have to exhibit a certain level of professionalism and etiquette, given that we constantly interact with our clients." Be one step ahead - practice the social skills necessary to help you make a great first impression and stand out in a competitive job market.

Written by Jennie Hunter, a professor at Western Carolina University.

The Job Offer

An area of the job search that often receives little attention is the art of negotiating. Once you have been offered a job, you have the opportunity to discuss the terms of your employment. Negotiations may be uncomfortable or unsatisfying because we tend to approach them with a winner-take-all attitude that is counterproductive to the concept of negotiations.

Negotiating with your potential employer can make your job one that best meets your own needs as well as those of your employer. To ensure successful negotiations, it is important to understand the basic components. The definition of negotiation as it relates to employment is: a series of communications (either oral or in writing) that reach a satisfying conclusion for all concerned parties, most often between the new employee and the hiring organization.

Negotiation is a planned series of events thatcurl_require(s strategy, presentation, and patience. Preparation is probably the single most important part of successful negotiations. Any good trial attorney will tell you the key to presenting a good case in the courtroom is the hours of preparation that happen beforehand. The same is true for negotiating. A good case will literally present itself. What follows are some suggestions that will help you prepare for successful negotiating.


Gather as much factual information as you can to back up the case you want to make. For example, if most entering employees cannot negotiate salary, you may be jeopardizing the offer by focusing on that aspect of the package. Turn your attention to other parts of the offer such as their health plan, dental plan, retirement package, the type of schedule you prefer, etc.

Psychological Preparation

Chances are that you will not know the person with whom you will be negotiating. If you are lucky enough to be acquainted, spend some time reviewing what you know about this person's communication style and decision-making behavior.

In most cases, however, this person will be a stranger. Since most people find the unknown a bit scary, you'll want to ask yourself what approach to negotiating you find most comfortable. How will you psyche yourself up to feel confident enough to ask for what you want? How will you respond to counteroffers? What are your alternatives? What's your bottom line? In short, plan your strategy.

Be sure you know exactly what you want. This does not mean you will get exactly that, but having the information clear in your head will help you determine what you are willing to concede. Unless you know what you want, you won't be able to tell somebody else. Clarity improves communication, which is the conduit for effective negotiations.


Rehearse the presentation in advance using another person as the employer. If you make mistakes in rehearsal, chances are that you will not repeat them during the actual negotiations. A friend can critique your reasoning and help you prepare for questions. If this all seems like a lot of work, remember that if something is worth negotiating for, it is worth preparing for.

Dollars and Sense

Always begin by expressing genuine interest in the position and the organization, emphasizing the areas of agreement but allowing "wiggle room" to compromise on other areas. Be prepared to support your points of disagreement, outlining the parts you would like to alter, your suggestions on how this can be done and why it would serve the company's best interests to accommodate your request.

Be prepared to defend your proposal. Back up your reasons for wanting to change the offer with meaningful, work-related skills and positive benefits to the employer. Requesting a salary increase because you are a fast learner or have a high GPA are usually not justifiable reasons in the eyes of the employer. Meaningful work experience or internships that have demonstrated or tested your professional skills are things that will make an employer stop and take notice.

It is sometimes more comfortable for job-seekers to make this initial request in writing and plan to meet later to hash out the differences. You will need to be fairly direct and assertive at this point even though you may feel extremely vulnerable. Keep in mind that the employer has chosen you from a pool of qualified applicants, so you are not as powerless as you think.

Sometimes the employer will bristle at the suggestions that there is room to negotiate. Stand firm, but encourage the employer to think about it for a day or two at which time you will discuss the details of your proposal with him/her. Do not rush the process because you are uncomfortable. The employer may be counting on this discomfort and use it to derail the negotiations. Remember, this is a series of volleys and lobs, tradeoffs and compromises that occur over a period of time. It is a process- not a singular event!

Once you have reached a conclusion with which you are both relatively comfortable, present in writing your interpretation of the agreement so that if there is any question, it will be addressed immediately. Negotiation, by definition, implies that each side will give. Do not perceive it as an ultimatum.

If the employer chooses not to grant any of your requests - and realistically, he or she can do that - you will still have the option of accepting the original offer provided you have maintained a positive, productive, and friendly atmosphere during your exchanges. You can always reenter negotiations after you have demonstrated your worth to the organization.

Money Isn't Everything

There are many things you can negotiate besides salary. For example, benefits can add thousands of dollars to the compensation package. Benefits can range from paid personal leave to discounts on the company's products and services. They constitute more than just icing on the cake; they may be better than the cake itself. Traditional benefit packages include health insurance, paid vacation and personal/sick days. Companies may offer such benefits as child care, elder car, or use of the company jet for family emergencies. Other lucrative benefits could include disability and life insurance and a variety of retirement plans. Some organizations offer investment and stock options as well as relocation reimbursement and tuition credits for continued education.

Written by Lily Maestas, Counseling and Career Services, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Watch Video

This video was developed in the course of agreement between the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education Grant Award #H326D060001 and #H326D060002 and the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet). Additional information about the pepnet 2 Getting a Job! resources can be found at this website.

Watch Video

This video was developed in the course of agreement between the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education Grant Award #H326D060001 and #H326D060002 and the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet). Additional information about the pepnet 2 Getting a Job! resources can be found at this website.

You've just been offered a job, now what? Evaluating an offer to make sure it is the right job for you is important. Besides the salary, there are many things to consider before you accept a job offer, such as career growth, networking and gaining experience. Remember that one job can lead to another opportunity in the future.

What to consider when evaluating an offer:

  • is the job content or nature of work something you want to do
  • is the work environment and location acceptable to you
  • does the salary and benefits (medical, dental, retirement, vacation, etc.) meet your needs
  • is the typical work week and hours per day acceptable to you
  • does the employer offer training or tuition assistance programs to employees
  • does the employer offer opportunities to advance on the job
  • are there employee groups at work that you may be interested in joining

Tips to remember:

  • know what the typical salary range is for the job (salary range information is available through the internet, Bureau of Labor Statistics, trade magazines)
  • develop a monthly budget listing all of your real and anticipated expenses to figure out what your salary requirement is
  • benefits an employer offers can add as much as 30-40% to your actual salary
  • you do not need to accept any offer immediately, you can ask the employer for a little time to carefully think about the offer before you make your decision

In addition to salary, an employer may offer:

  • medical insurance
  • dental insurance
  • retirement plan, pension, 401K
  • tuition assistance
  • vacation, holiday, personal time off
  • sick leave
  • relocation expenses
  • company car
  • stock purchases
  • bonus
  • flexible work schedule
  • child care reimbursement or service
  • membership in professional associations and related travel

After you evaluate a job offer, you decide whether to accept it or decline. If you think you might receive another offer, contact the other employer first before you make a decision. See Ethics of Accepting/Rejecting an Offer below. Once you decide, there are some procedures to follow.

Example letters are in the Letters to Accept/Decline section of the Job Search Documents.


  • Thank the employer for their offer and ask him/her to give you the details of the offer in writing.
  • Write a letter accepting the offer, thanking the employer, and summarizing the details. Remember this is a commitment and you can't change your mind. Keep a copy.
  • If you are working, write a brief letter of resignation, using the same business letter format you used with your cover letters and thank-you notes. Keep a copy.
  • Give your current supervisor at least two weeks notice so he/she can make plans to replace you. You want to leave in a positive way, since you may want to ask him/her for a reference in the future, and network with him/her at a later time.
  • If you have received an offer from another employer, write him/her a letter declining the offer (see below).
  • Share your good news with the people who have helped you with your job search and thank them.


  • Be professional in turning down an offer, since you may meet the people involved later in your career, or decide to apply there again in the future.
  • Write a letter declining the offer, thanking them for their interest in you, and end the letter in a positive way. Keep a copy.

Ethics of Accepting/Declining

Once you accept a co-op job offer, even verbally, you must not change your mind and back out to work for another employer. If you have any questions/concerns about this, discuss with your employment advisor before taking action!

Good employer relations are important for the success of our co-op program, and you, the student, are a part of this relationship. Therefore, consider carefully before accepting a co-op position.

  • Discuss offers thoroughly with employers so you understand the terms and reach a mutually acceptable date to respond to their offer.
  • Request more time from employers if you need to consider other opportunities. Do not ignore deadline dates you have agreed upon.
  • Notify employers that you are accepting or rejecting an offer as soon as you make your decision - never later than the arranged date.
  • Once you accept a job offer, immediately inform other employers who are considering you. Your acceptance of an offer is a commitment you made to the employer.
  • Cancel any other scheduled interviews or on-site visits.

When you have a new job, there are some things you can do to help you be successful.

Before you begin work

  • If you don't have a job description, ask for it, so you can see how your duties are explained and prioritized.
  • Look at the organizational chart of the employer, so you can see how work groups are arranged, and where you fit in.
  • Large employers have organizational handbooks, newsletters, and employee Websites that will help you understand policies, procedures and values of the workplace.
  • Discuss accommodations you will need with your supervisor, including a request for an interpreter for orientation and training.

Starting the job

  • Dress professionally to make a good impression.
  • Explain to people the best way to communicate with you.
  • Show enthusiasm and respect for the employer's way of doing things.
  • Ask what is expected from you and how to accomplish work goals.
  • Take notes to help you remember what to do.
  • Keep benefits documents you receive for future information.

On the job

  • Arrive on time, or even a little early, to the workplace and meetings.
  • Be friendly and positive.
  • Fit in with the work culture and follow rules
  • Find out what your supervisor's expectations are, and do things the way he/she wants them done.
  • Understand your role on team projects and your responsibilities.
  • Learn from observing and asking others for clarification and advice.
  • Try to work out solutions to problems, but request help when needed.
  • Complete your assignments by the deadline.
  • When you are done with your work, inform your supervisor, and offer to help others.
  • Keep up with changes in technology.
  • Take workshops or classes offered by the employer to learn more.
  • Join professional associations and attend events to network and help others.
  • Ask your supervisor for a performance evaluation after working six months, to see what you are doing well, and what you can do to improve.


This video was developed in the course of agreement between the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education Grant Award #H326D060001 and #H326D060002 and the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet). Additional information about the pepnet 2 Getting a Job! resources can be found at this website.

If you receive Social Security financial benefits, you must contact the Social Security office and report your monthly earnings.

To learn more about reporting your job earnings/wages click here