By: Caitlin Brison
Co-op – it’s learning by doing. Actually, it’s learning through reflection on doing. During a co-op semester, students have the opportunity to work hands-on in a professional setting outside the classroom. The key ingredient that makes co-op a learning experience is feedback. Feedback helps us correct errors and promotes self-reflection in order to improve our performance. It is essential to get feedback on the work you are doing. So don’t be afraid to ask for it!
Ask for feedback in real time.
Giving feedback can be equally as uncomfortable for supervisors; some skip it because they worry how it will be received. They hold off, then they dump negative feedback in a formal performance review and you never had the opportunity to change. Create an atmosphere that welcomes it by having a good attitude and showing you are resilient. You can listen and adjust.
Help your boss be your coach, too.
Pose specific questions in real-time. It doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down meeting to have a coaching exchange. Asking vague questions can lead to vague feedback and nothing gets accomplished. While the work is still fresh, pose questions like “What’s one thing I could have done better on this project?” It shows that you are investing in your own growth.
Ask for examples.
Vague feedback is futile and can be disheartening. Press for examples or ask targeted questions so that you can be made aware specifics and be encouraged to change. This will help you make adjustments and identify parts of your performance that may need major or micro adjustments.
Value input from your colleagues.
Don’t just look up for feedback – turn to your colleagues. Knowing how your colleagues view your strengths and developmental areas can be a really powerful tool. They may have insight your boss doesn’t!
Feedback can be a stressful experience, which is why many people hesitate to ask for it. But guess what? The more often you do, the more comfortable and impactful it becomes. With increased opportunities to adjust your work, the better you will be at your job and the higher you get reviewed. More feedback leads to higher performance and increased job satisfaction.
Learning how to get feedback on co-op sets you up for success your entire career. Feedback builds resiliency and helps you develop a growth mindset. It’ll be a tool you always use and you’ll impress your future employers with the level of maturity and motivation you bring to your role.
How to Get the Feedback you Need: https://hbr.org/2015/05/how-to-get-the-feedback-you-need
The Assumptions Employees Make When They Don’t Get Feedback: https://hbr.org/2019/06/the-assumptions-employees-make-when-they-dont-get-feedback
As always, to make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.
Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.