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Shem Navalta

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

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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

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Blog
Did your Co-op Term Confirm your Career Path? It’s Okay If It Didn’t.

If you are anything like me, one reason that you might have applied for Co-op was because of the many success stories that you've read and heard about. While these stories can be so inspiring and motivating, I have realized that it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to come out of a Co-op term still unsure of what you may want to do. Continue reading to learn about what I learned after my first Co-op work term.

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. 

Open laptop, pen, and clipboard on a table. Paper on clipboard reads "my resume".
Blog
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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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. 

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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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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
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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. 

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Fostering Families at Capstone Youth

"When I saw the job posting from Capstone Youth and Family Services for a respite worker with at risk youth, I was drawn to it..." Read about Lesley's co-op working with at-risk youths and the important lessons they've learned during this experience.  

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Urban Native Youth Association

The Urban Native Youth Association works to provide meaningful opportunities for Native Youth. With almost 100 staff working within 21 programs they are always looking for talented and dynamic people to join the team. Find out more.

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Invest in the Unexpected: Why You Should Join Co-op and Share Your Story with the OLC

Taylor joined SFU’s Aboriginal Co-op Coordinator, Trina Setah, as a Work-Study student to help promote co-op to SFU’s Indigenous community. Read about Taylor’s personal experience with co-op, and why she thinks you should join too.