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Carissa Tavares-Kwok

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

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white desk with open laptop, computer mouse, phone, notebook, and plant
Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash
In the end, think of it like this; experience is experience no matter the type. You should be proud regardless of where you end up working and know that you are taking the proper steps to further your career.

Co-op can be an overwhelming process.

You are entering a trial adult experience where you look for and apply for jobs. Don't get me wrong, it's entirely worth it. I would 10/10 recommend Co-op to anyone who would ask, and I am a strong advocate for getting experience for your future.

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? What type of company should you pick when all the roles seem the same?

That's where I come in! I have been very fortunate to have had a chance to experience working in three different sectors that Co-op offers, and I am here to give you some insights about what it’s like to work for each of them.

1. Non-Profit

The non-profit sector is a fulfilling industry to work in. You get the opportunity to work closely with a community and its stakeholders, while expanding your network with other community workers. If you have a particular passion or interest, there are many non-profits that will allow you to make a positive impact. However, I found that non-profit organizations are often limited in their resources due to funding, especially when working in a smaller organization. No fear, you will learn some creative and innovative ways to gain the same results at a lower cost!

2. Start-Up

If you love autonomy and ownership over your own work, a start-up organization may be right for you. Regardless of the industry, start-ups provide you with the opportunity to grow and get your hands dirty in real work. If you have the chance to work in social media or marketing, you may start with a small audience for your company, but you can watch it grow and see your ideas make an impact!

But be prepared to wear many hats in your role! Like non-profits, start-ups can have limited resources and often look for individuals who can be a jack-of-all-trades. While this may seem overwhelming, embrace these opportunities; they look excellent on your resume, expand your skillset and help you become a flexible employee.

3. Corporate

Corporations allow you to work with a large group of people working towards a common goal. If you ever wanted to spruce up your collaborative skills, corporate is the way to go. You will have the opportunity to learn from experts in your field and take a glance into the inner workings of your possible future career. A significant advantage is that you are not limited on resources. Have an idea? Give it a whirl, put some money behind it, and if it works, great! If not, don't stress about bankrupting the company; take your findings and results and apply them to better your strategy in the future. But don't forget, there are usually a few internal stakeholders that you need to get approval from, so, make sure you leave extra time for the chain of command.

In the end, think of it like this; experience is experience no matter the type. You should be proud regardless of where you end up working and know that you are taking the proper steps to further your career.

Although these findings are based on my own personal experiences, I hope this little blog post gave you some insight into what it's like to work in different types of organizations!

Good luck out there; you'll figure it out :)

About the Author

Carissa Tavares-Kwok

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

Posts by Author

woman holding a piece of paper with a laptop in front of her
Blog
Business Development & Sales World for Dummies (and Communication Students)

As a Communication major, I’m comfortable with hearing “the medium is the message”, getting lost in 15-page essays, and wondering why a picture of a pipe is in fact, not a pipe (shoutout CMNS 110). Throw me in a tech start-up in a (remote) business development position and well, I’m a touch out of my comfort zone. Keep reading to learn about my experience working in a business role as a Communication major. 

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Imposter Syndrome and Finding My Confidence With Co-op

Michael joined SFU’s Co-op program during his first year and quickly realized one thing as he began the job search process: projecting confidence and composure are key to showing your best points and skills. Continue reading to learn more about how Michael dealt with imposter syndrome and found his confidence with Co-op. 

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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. 

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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...

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Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

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Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

white desk with open laptop, computer mouse, phone, notebook, and plant
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Blog
Non-Profit, Start-Up or Corporate: What's Right for You?
Co-op Reflections, Career Exploration, Student Success, Professional Development, Personal Development, Work + Volunteer

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... Returning to SFU

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Choosing a Co-op Offer Over Permanent Employment: How I Did It

Vicky Leung is a Business Co-op student who found herself having to choose between the allure of a permanent position at a start-up company, which did not match the job description, and a Co-op position that was everything she imagined. Read Vicky’s 3 pieces of advice when making difficult decisions in the co-op program. 

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Tanya's Kinesiology Co-op: A Challenging Experience

My name is Tanya and I am majoring in Kinesiology – Active Health and Rehabilitation. I decided to join the Co-op program to gain hands-on experience and find out what type of work I would like to do once I have graduated. I began co-op in January of 2010 and finished the last of my co-op terms at the end of 2011, all in the area of physical rehabilitation. I wanted to address some of the challenges I have experienced during my time in co-op, and I hope to help other students who may be facing similar problems in their own work terms.