Skip to main content

Shem Navalta

SFU Co-op Studnent
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

empty
Shem Navalta in front of a communal room
I needed to change the way I was thinking. I needed to be open to opportunities that would help me grow.

I’m about to enter my fourth co-op term, giving me a year and four months' worth of design, communication, and event planning experience. Without a doubt, with the experience I’ve gained so far, I’m determined to reach my dream job after graduation. But I have to be honest, before finding my first co-op placement two years ago, I was out of touch with my career goals and set unrealistic expectations for myself. I had no plan or direction. Who knew what I was really doing…

In the beginning of my search, I was frustrated that the “ideal” job I had pictured in my head wasn’t available for me and that certain companies I wanted to work for were not looking to hire co-op students. I became very picky and rejected even looking at jobs based on the job title, company, and overall job description. If there was one thing I didn’t want to do on that job description, I didn’t apply.

After eight long months of not getting a single offer, I was tired of looking at jobs and felt very defeated. However, I decided to give myself one more term of searching, but this time, things had to be different; I needed to change the way I was thinking. I needed to be open to opportunities that would help me grow.

What does this mean for the first time co-op job seeker? It means: 

  • You’re not always going to find the “perfect job” or the “perfect company” for you.  Instead, seek jobs with aspects that can help you build the skills you want to develop.

  • Remember, a co-op job is an experience not a permanent placement. So, learn as much as you can and take your newly developed skills to your next job and continue growing.

  • Before saying “no” to a company prior to reading the job description, do your research and find out more about them. You’ll never know if an employer is a good fit for you until you do your research.

Once I had an open mindset, I started to map out the skills I wanted to work on and began to find jobs that matched those skills – even if the jobs had aspects I didn’t really want to do. More important was getting to build on the skills I wanted to improve so that in the future, I can get to where I want to be.

Within sending the first job application with my new mentality, I finally received my first co-op job offer, which happened to be in Calgary, Alberta for Devon Energy – a natural oil and gas company. Previously, I did not give much thought to working in the oil and gas industry. Although, upon reading the job description, I knew that the Creative Communication position would allow me to gain skills that I needed to start me down my career path. Also, after researching the company, I felt a lot more comfortable submitting my application.

Since then, I’ve been alternating back and forth between school and a new co-op placement. After Devon Energy, I was the Marketing and Communications Assistant for the Heights Merchants Association, a not-for-profit organization in Burnaby, and today, I am currently at SAP Labs Vancouver as the Communication Specialist.

Over the course of my three co-op placements, I’ve been able to design advertisements, help organize a massive street festival, be part of the communication team for a large office renovation project, design communication material that has been shared with top leading professionals around the world, develop projects and work closely with Executive Directors and COOs, and have extensively grown my communication skills in networking. These are just some of the experiences and skills I’ve gained so far and I know I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t changed my attitude and adopted an open mind.

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Shem Navalta

SFU Co-op Studnent
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

Posts by Author

Painted sign of the sun and blue skies that says "Burnaby"
Blog
What Is It Really Like Working For a Non-Profit?

I have always wanted to work at a non-profit organization. While my main objective during my first Co-op term was to gain experience in the Communication field, that goal to work at a non-profit had always remained in the back of my mind. Keep reading to learn more about my experience working for a non-profit. 

Girl smiling
Blog
How Working in the Health Care Sector during a Pandemic Rekindled My Passion for Communication Work

Communication? What do you do in Communication? It wasn't until my Co-op term with Fraser Health that I started to gain a solid understanding of what a career in Communication could really encompass. Keep reading to learn about how working in the healthcare sector during a pandemic rekindled my passion for Communication work. 

white desk with open laptop, computer mouse, phone, notebook, and plant
Blog
Non-Profit, Start-Up or Corporate: What's Right for You?

Co-op can be an overwhelming process. You are entering a trial adult experience where you look for and apply for jobs. But what do you do when you are scrolling through the long list of job postings and a wave of companies and organizations blind your eyes? Continue reading to learn about Carissa's experience working for a variety of industries. 

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...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

Shem Navalta in front of a communal room
library_books
Blog
Fight the Struggle of Finding Your First Placement: Being Open to Opportunities When Seeking Your First Co-op Work Term
Professional Development, Seeking, Interviews, Career Exploration

Before finding his first co-op placement, Shem Navalta found himself frustrated that his “ideal” job wasn’t available to him. In this post, Shem talks about his experience with searching for his first co-op job and provides advice on how to be open to opportunities that will help you grow. 

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Image of Yat with other students at SFU
Leaving an Imprint

During the past five years at SFU, Yat has been asked multiple times: what do you want to become after you graduate? Every time, he would hesitate before answering. He didn’t have an exact position he wanted to be in, nor did he know whether he would have the skills for whatever that ended up being. Hence, his typical answer: “I don’t know.” To many, uncertainty is uncomfortable. Read more to learn how Yat overcame uncertainty, and left an imprint. 

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.