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SFU Co-op Student

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the author with her colleagues looking at a laptop

Approaching the end of my third year, I began to feel a panic in my chest. What the heck am I going to do after I graduate? Staring blankly at my laptop’s screen for a good 30 minutes, I came to the final decision -- Co-op. Why have I not thought of that before? What is the point of graduating so quickly without knowing what I want to do afterwards or having any experience to prepare for the real world?

the author in the snow

Fast forward, I have now secured a Co-op placement and am currently working. Reaching the final stage of my first working term, I can definitely and positively say that Co-op is worth your time, and here are the reasons why:

1. Support from your Coordinators and the Program Overall

Applying to jobs without any knowledge of how to construct a resume and how to write cover letters would be very challenging. The Co-op program offers workshops on creating and refining resumes and cover letters. They also provide helpful tips for interviews. Most importantly, it allows you to meet with your Coordinators 1-on-1 to help you enhance your interview skills and make your resumes and cover letters stand out.

2. Experiences, Experiences, and Experiences

I’ll be honest, securing my first Co-op job was difficult, because the competition among the Co-op students was so high. And this is just within the Co-op program. Imagine how hard it will be to start seeking for a real full-time job after graduation without any work experience? How are you going to compete against other applicants who have a lot more work experience than you? By joining Co-op, you will gain real work experience that will push your resume up a notch and make you a stronger competitor among other applicants.

3. References

This was the part that I was most uncomfortable with while applying for jobs. I hoped that whoever interviewed me would not ask for my list of references, because frankly, I did not have that many options for references since I only had one job that lasted for three months. Now that I am working for a well-known institution, not only am I proud to put that on my resume, I can also ask them to be my reference and not be scared in the future when I am asked to give future employers a reference list.

4. Professional Skills Development

When you are reading descriptions of jobs to apply for, you may think that you only have to accomplish those tasks that are listed in there. Well, that surely does not apply to my case. I take on multiple roles: from creating marketing content to covering the front desk and taking on other projects being given to me. Performing multiple roles and dealing with different tasks helped me improve my skills, both technical and soft, which will be super useful in the future. I’m glad that I got to have so many experiences within these 4 months and will continue to strive for improvement.

5. FUTURE!

Last but not least, Co-op allowed me to find out what I want to try and do in the future. It helped me to build my resume and again, made me a stronger competitor in the pool of many talented applicants. I can say joining Co-op was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I will continue trying out new experiences through Co-op.

SFU Co-op Student
Thuy An is a 3rd-year Communications student at SFU. She worked an 8-month long co-op term for her first position as a Special Program Assistant for FAS Co-op. She enjoys taking food photography and trying new restaurants on a regular basis. Find out more about Thuy on LinkedIn or Instagram

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