When fifth year communication and publishing minor student Clayton Wong first applied to co-op he had no idea what opportunities would await him. Now, in his last semester at SFU, Clayton reflects back on his co-op experiences at YVR, Tesla, and Snapchat and the skills he learned.
From the moment he began his studies at SFU, Clayton knew he wanted to apply for the co-op program to gain work experience while completing his degree. He also knew this opportunity would open doors to companies and potential positions he would not be able to find on his own.
As the social media co-op at YVR Airport, Clayton's work involved digital engagement, content creation, and replying to inquiries on all of YVR’s social media channels. One of Clayton's most memorable projects was working on the #YVR25Million campaign. It was the first time YVR hit 25 million passengers in a year so Clayton helped organize 25 days of social media giveaways.
"I had admired the YVR brand for a long time so being trusted to help bring it to life, was a really great experience for me, and one that only happened because of co-op," says Clayton.
Clayton’s second placement was at Tesla; which he applied to after hearing positive experiences from friends who had interned there. Claytons’ responsibilities involved monitoring social media channels, engaging with followers, and occasional troubleshoot support if someone had a question about their vehicle. Clayton also worked with the video team to brainstorm and create footage showcasing new vehicle features or promoting special events.
This past summer, Clayton completed his third co-op placement at Snapchat Canada. As part of the creative strategy team, Clayton gained new skills such as pitching to clients and working with advertisement agencies. He was also regularly involved in creating unique brand campaigns using augmented reality technology. One of his big campaigns was for Tim Hortons Camp Day.
"It was a really unique experience to take everything I learned at YVR and Tesla, and turn it on its head being on the ‘platform’ side,” says Clayton.
Although Clayton was involved in various projects throughout his time in co-op, he asserts that it was the soft skills learned outside of his jobs that taught him the most. When working for Tesla in San Fransisco, Clayton was forced to learn how to budget, cook for one, apply for a visa, file American taxes, and become comfortable living in a new city with no familiar faces.
When asked if he had any advice to give to students applying to co-op, Clayton encourages his peers to be bold. He shares that his success occurred when he put himself out there and made himself heard. This can take many forms, such as raising your hand and pitching an idea in a meeting, or perhaps choosing the job offer in another city or country.
With graduation approaching, Clayton has plans to touch base with some of his past managers and co-op employers to see if there are opportunities for him to return to a full-time position. However before that, he plans to have some well-deserved time to ski and catch up with friends.
This blog was originally posted on the Faculty of Communication News site on November 25th, 2021.