Skip to main content

Swati Garg

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

empty
Two people holding the number 1
I have come to realize that when you hit that sweet spot, you make life easier for the employer, but also gain some satisfaction in how your work is creating positive change by being used by your organization.

Communications is a vast field with its own unique challenges. It is not only about writing articles or handling social media, but usually requires you to juggle wearing various hats. To make a lasting impression in communications, you must of course fulfill the described job duties, but knowing how to hone your strengths in a Co-op is the cherry on top.

Working for a utility for the last four months, I have come to learn a lot about the nature of communications work in a large company both internally and externally. These are my 5 tips to make a communications role your own:

1. Find Out What Your Employer’s Challenges Are

Even before you step into the workplace, ideally during the interview process, ask your employer what their struggles are with respect to the work they do. This shows them that you are already thinking about problem-solving and allows you to demonstrate how you’re positioned to solve them through your skillset.

2. Connect the Dots: Do Your Strengths Alleviate Their Weaknesses?

This is the most important step. After you’ve gained an insider’s perspective on what your employer’s challenges are, connect them to your strengths and ask yourself – how can I help them overcome these hurdles? Before joining the workplace, do some independent research on the industry. Find out which technologies are available to alleviate common issues and latest tools available. Learn a skill that might benefit your employer meet their goals.

3. Ask to Be a Part of Projects That Might Seem Above Your Pay Grade

Once at the workplace, assess the situation and see how you can transfer your newly learned or previously acquired skills to the problem at hand. Every employer needs an idea refresh, so make sure to get involved in the process and sit in on important strategy and planning meetings. Listen and learn before you offer advice or solutions; sometimes what might seem obvious to an outsider is completely missed by the insiders.

4. Treat Your Employer Like Your Client

It is important to think multiple times before turning someone away who is asking for help. Make sure to exhaust all your options before you give up. Perseverance can lead to some of the most innovative solutions and might even allow you to find your niche. In communications roles, we are often tasked with helping someone put their vision into action. Whether it is strategy or action orientated tasks, find that sweet spot where you are continuing to learn and also giving employer a return on investment.

5. Ask, Ask, Ask.

Autonomy and independence in a co-op is a great trait, however, make sure to keep your colleagues and manager in the loop at all times. Your skills and talents outside of the job description can create real value for the employer but if you don’t apply them well, no one benefits. Always ask if you’re unsure of a situation; most people don’t mind responding to questions as long as it improves the quality of work and guarantees that everyone is on the same page.

These tips will ensure that you not only bring something to the table that other co-op students before you may not have, but also creates a unique identity for you and your work.

I have come to realize that when you hit that sweet spot, you make life easier for the employer, but also gain some satisfaction in how your work is creating positive change by being used by your organization. 

  • Swati Garg Nov 16, 2017
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  2

About the Author

Swati Garg

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Working on campus
The 10 Minute Commute – Resources and Useful Information for Working on Campus

Have you ever thought about working in a place that you are familiar with?  Perhaps a Tim Horton’s close by? For many students the idea of working at SFU might be a great option, if you prefer a 10 minute jaunt to work after class or an opportunity to learn more about how a university operates.

Two people holding the number 1
library_books
Blog
Create Your Own Opportunities at Work
Career Exploration, Personal Development, Professional Development, Workplace Success

Communications is a vast field with its own unique challenges. It is not only about writing articles or handling social media, but usually requires you to juggle wearing various hats. To make a lasting impression in communications, you must of course fulfill the described job duties, but knowing how to hone your strengths in a Co-op is the cherry on top. 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Lampa’s first time wearing her uniform after receiving it in the mail. A proud moment.
Lessons from My First Work Term in the Civil Service; During a Global Pandemic

Thinking about working remotely for your next co-op term? Political Science student, Maja Lampa describes her experience adapting to remote work during her first season with the Federal Government and how she found meaningful work in uncertain times.

Seven co-workers smiling and posing for the camera while wearing matching blue t-shirts and blue caps.
My ‘Future Friendly’ Experience at TELUS

Read on to learn about Jacky's valuable co-op experience that transformed his self-doubt into professional development at Telus!

A photo of Lindsey Wu
Don’t Worry About Being a Small Potato

When you’re starting off in a new workplace, it can be daunting talking to people who carry the title of CEO, director, and everything in between. While you may feel like a small potato compared to the big spud, it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Lindsay shares her story on why your future self will thank you for building your connections early on through Co-op.