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Frequently Asked Questions

The responses to many commonly asked questions that the NCA team receives are below.  We will continue to update these FAQs as new information becomes available.  If you have additional questions after reading this page, please contact NCA at nca@northwestern.edu or (847) 491-3700 and we will respond quickly.  (Last updated 8/26/2022)

How do I schedule an appointment with a member of the NCA team?

Visit the Meet with Us page for more information on scheduling an appointment or connecting with our team for quick questions via express advising.

I have an immediate concern and can’t schedule an appointment. Is there another option for me?

NCA offers daily drop-in hours to connect with our team for quick career-related questions and guidance. Express advising is available virtually via Live Chat or in-person at our main office at 620 Lincoln Street.

Visit the Meet with Us page for times and login information. 

Can I get documents reviewed?

Yes, you can get all documents reviewed by NCA. These include resumes, cover letters, graduate school letters, CVs, personal statements for graduate and law school.

Tips

If you have already been meeting with a career adviser, ask your adviser if they are open to providing you with feedback on your documents via email instead of through an appointment. When emailing an adviser to ask for feedback on a document, always give the deadline (if there is one) because the adviser might not be able to get back to you on the same day.

Resources

Both the NCA resume writing guide and the NCA Career Guide contain resume writing instructions and resume samples

  • Utilize VMock to have your resume and LinkedIn profile reviewed in addition to working with your career adviser.

I feel behind on my internship/job search when I look around at my peers' career planning. Do organizations hire beyond fall quarter?

Simply put, yes - employers hire all year round. Depending on the industry and job function of interest to you, hiring takes place at various times. In fact, our survey data shows that 65% of students secure their internships in March, April or May.  NCA hosts seasonal job & internship fairs  for this very reason.

Check out the NCA hiring timeline guide on the last page of the Career Guide for more information on when your industry of interest may be hiring.  We also encourage you to schedule an appointment via Handshake for guidance searching in your field of interest.

How do I identify employers that are hiring remotely?

Many employers are working diligently to attract and maintain talent by moving internships and jobs remotely.  Expand your list of target companies/organizations to those who are hiring remotely right now through resources such as Handshake and LinkedIn.

Tips

  • Reach out directly to employers and inquire about summer opportunities.  Sample prospecting email (PDF)
  • In Handshake go to "Jobs" - "Employers" (top right tab) - see listings of company profiles, which often include a contact email (sort by location, industry, and company size).  Click the star to follow companies so that if/when they do post an opportunity in Handshake you will be notified.Click the star to follow companies so that if/when they do post an opportunity in Handshake you will be notified.
  • Use search terms such as "remote" "virtual" "telecommute" "cyber commute" when using Handshake or other posting sites
  • Consider past employers - since they already know you and your skills they may be able to provide recommendations to other employers they know are looking for candidates, or identify internal projects you could work on remotely

How do I prepare for a virtual interview? Does NCA have space I can reserve?

You should prepare for a virtual interview much in the same way that you would for an in-person interview. Make sure that you do your homework on the company culture, reach out to peers and alumni that have interned and/or worked at target companies, and be ready to talk about why you are a good fit in terms of skills and goals.

If you would like to use NCA space for a virtual interview, you can reserve it.

Tips

Schedule a virtual mock interview w/your career adviser via Handshake. You will not only get advice on how to prepare, but can practice conversing in a virtual setting, test out your technology, background etc.

Resources

Are there other things I can do during the summer that are good alternatives to a traditional “internship”?

Employers and graduate schools look at the many ways in which you have gained skills and industry knowledge. 

While internships are one pathway, you can also gain experience from a variety of other opportunities like research, volunteering, and leadership roles (just to name a few!).  Visit the Securing Experience Prior to Junior Year page for a full list of potential options.

Does NCA still offer career counseling/assessments if I am undecided on a path to pursue?

The events of the last year may have made you consider or reconsider your career goals. This is a great time to engage in career exploration and self-assessment. Please make an initial appointment on Handshake and select “Choosing a Career Path” as the appointment type.

What are NCA's offer policies?

In our offer guidelines, NCA kindly requests that organizations extend two weeks for students to consider offers of full time employment or internships, or three weeks for return offers at the conclusion of a summer internship. NCA strongly encourages students to fully consider any/all offers extended.

I’m not seeing the employers that I’m looking for on Handshake. What should I do?

Please talk with your Career Advisor if there is a specific employer that you do not see in Handshake. They may be able to update you on the hiring activity of that employer, as well as help with strategies for reaching out to specific employers.  Make sure that you are also utilizing the employer’s website (can be listed under “careers” or “jobs”) and the “Employers” section of Handshake to source openings and companies.

NCA also highlights employers based on strengths that are unique and valuable to Northwestern in collections that can be found on Handshake. To explore employers that have been highlighted via collections, log in to Handshake and click Career Center in the upper-right corner of the screen. Locate the Curated employers section, then click on the collection of interest to explore a variety of employers. More details can be found here

Can NCA provide guidance for deciding whether an offer for a full-time or internship opportunity is a good fit?

As soon as you receive an offer NCA can help you to evaluate your next steps. While most organizations will follow the recommended hiring policies, it is best to meet with an NCA team member early in your decision making process. NCA can help you to advocate for yourself as you evaluate your options, discuss your decision timeline and navigate the process of communicating with your future employer.

Will taking a quarter off affect my access to NCA and recruiting?

You will still have all NCA services and resources available to you, including Handshake, as long as you have an active NetID. It is also unlikely to affect your status with employers.