So it’s mid-semester and you haven’t got a Co-op job for the next semester yet. Plus you’re worried 'cause exams are starting soon and you don’t have a Plan B. So you go in to meet with your co-op coordinator, who shares these nuggets with you.
It sounds fast and it is. There’s very little waiting around for a shortlist or offer. Job offers are generally extended right after the final interview.
Most programs will still be receiving job postings throughout Lightning Round. In fact, sometimes the best jobs come in during this period. But if you haven’t been actively applying earlier in the term, chances are your application won’t be sent to many – or any – employers. If you have been keep at it however, all of these late job postings greatly increase your chances landing an interview and eventually a placement.
Many of the jobs don’t ask for a cover letter but double-check on the job posting to make sure this is the case.
Lots of students have dropped out of the process or have been placed, so you have less competition! Stick in there as long as possible to increase your chances of getting a job.
And when you participate in Lightning Round, you will get more from your Co-op job search that will help you in the long run. Here are a few benefits to sticking with your search when you're busy with exams and projects:
1. Great Application
If you're getting feedback from your Co-op coordinator or advisor, you're improving your knowledge of how to market yourself effectively to employers. The more jobs you apply to, the more feedback we can give you for your particular strengths, skills, and goals.
2. Interview Experience
If you make it to the interview stage, before or during Lightning Round, you will get experience in what it takes to prepare successfully (and you can learn from your past mistakes!). Interviews are tough, but practice and experience give you a huge leg up.
3. Labour Market Research
If you've been looking throughout the whole term, including Lightning Round, you've seen more job postings and have a better understanding of what kinds of organizations are looking for students like you. This is a reflection of the job market out there, so if you're lacking skills or experience, go out and start gaining them! Think volunteer jobs, lab/group projects, electives, and student clubs.
There is so much to gain in Lightning Round, and there are countless success stories from students getting great Co-op experiences.
Here, Brianna, a Communication Co-op alumna, tells us about the co-op job she landed in Lightning Round, and how it affected her future job search efforts:
"I was very lucky to land an 8-month placement with Accenture during Lightning Round for my first Co-op work term. Accenture was a great introduction to the corporate world; this Co-op placement taught me many things, including patience and perseverance. It was a very stressful experience. Getting placed so late in the game made me work harder to perfect my resume, cover letter, and interview skills. I was often the second choice for other placements; I went back to these organizations and asked what I could improve for next time, what I could have done to stand out. Although Lightning Round was stressful, it made me a stronger candidate and better interviewer. For my second Co-op placement, I was placed early in the process and had two organizations offer me a position."
- Brianna Bergeron, Senior Marketing Coordinator, KPMG in Saskatoon
And Eric, a current Engineering Science student, explains how Lightning Round helped him secure that sought-after first Co-op job, and alleviated some of his exam stress at the same time:
"I think Lightning Round is great as there is still a chance to get a Co-op job closer to the end of the semester. Last semester I was extremely busy with class work and found that applying to lots of jobs took a large amount of time, and I had a lot of practice improving my applications. Once Lightning Round started, I regained hope because I knew there was still a chance to secure a Co-op job. The ability to apply without writing a cover letter really takes the stress off when you need to study for exams at the end of the semester and in the long run it paid off as I was offered a job at Icron."
- Eric, Engineering Science Co-op Student