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The Tool Box:
A Student’s Guide to Best Practices
—work in progress, visit this page regularly for updated content—


  • Time Management
    Time management is the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals. Poor time management can be related to procrastination, as well as problems with self-control. Skills involved in managing your time include planning for the future, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring where your time actually goes.

    • Set Boundaries: Learn to say ‘no’

      • “I’m sorry. I can’t do this right now.”
      • Be firm-not defensive or overly apologetic-and polite.
    • Set goals/milestones/priorities
    • Establish good sleep/eating habits
    • Work smarter, not harder: choose a schedule that works for you
    • Resources:
  • Attend office hours
  • Utilize/leverage campus resources

  • Persistence
  • Participate in hands-on projects

    • Engineering project clubs
    • AISES Rocket Competition
  • Ask for help
  • Support System
    • Form study groups


  • LinkedIn account — keep updated
  • Social media scrub
  • Keep a portfolio: resume, accomplishments
  • Practice virtual interviewing
  • Market yourself: create elevator pitch
  • Professionalism in communications: proper writing, well-spoken, eye contact, avoid profanity, well-fitting and appropriate length clothes


  • Communicate effectively
  • Seek personal and professional development
  • Learn conflict resolution
  • 360 degree feedback
  • Emotional intelligence: self/social awareness
  • Attend/participate in national conferences
  • Learn patience
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone
  • Apply what you learn by participating in team projects: problem solving
  • Be involved and fully committed to a task or project
  • Set an example and give back to the community
  • Understand everyone’s strengths/weaknesses and organize teams with people that can compensate


  • Create a Recpass account for easy resume/profile sharing at certain career fairs
    • Recpass is the student side of the RECSOLU software. Their technology
      and services are used by employers of all sizes, from FORTUNE 500
      companies and large government organizations to smaller growth stage
      companies, to manage their recruiting processes in sourcing and hiring
      top talent globally.
  • What Makes an Employee (or Candidate) Stand Out?
    • Competence: become the expert at your job
    • Commitment: attendance matters; be punctual; keep a strong work ethic; keep promises make by you or for you
    • Communication skills: improve your oral/written communication skills; read anything and everything
    • Teamwork: participate in a team; don’t be difficult; coordinate with all stakeholders; complete your tasks on time
    • Image:
      dress for the next higher position; talk the talk (no slang); be
      careful what you post on the web; exhibit good manners; be respectful in
      social situations; know your company’s and customer’s cultural
    • Leadership: be visible; lead by example; model your company’s values; be results oriented
    • Ethics: know the consequences of your actions
    • Integrity: earn trust everyday; choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong
    • Company Knowledge: know organizational structure and where you fit in; research and adhere to processes and policies
    • Customer Knowledge: gain customer intimacy; demonstrate your value to the customer
    • Education/Training: take advantage of company training and/or sponsored continuing education
    • Mentoring/Networking:
      seek out a mentor; be a mentor; establish peer relationships; develop a
      plan on progressing to the next level; gain additional skills; join
      organizations at work and in the community; attend
      company/professional/community conferences and symposia
    • Your Boss: talk to your boss; ask for feedback; listen and learn
    • Jobs: consider mobility; maintain resume current; advance your passions and strengths; take risks, volunteer for special projects; develop plans for continuous improvement; seek different functional assignments; don’t let money be your sole motivator; don’t get comfortable and stop trying
    • Life Balance: understand that work is a marathon and not a sprint; use your vacation time; plan for the future; enjoy a hobby, appreciate your time and health; know the difference between important and urgent; do not neglect loved ones, health and moral character