I was very excited when the School of Computing Science announced there would be a co-op program dedicated to graduate students at the beginning of 2013. At this time I was already searching for an internship for Summer 2013 but was unsuccessful in my search.
The graduate co-op program offers:
- Help with writing a professional resume.
- Provision of some guarantees regarding the pay and working conditions.
- Information about open positions in the technological companies.
These services were really helpful, and this is how I actually found my co-op placement and enjoyed 9 months of paid internship in the Fortune 500 Company.
One big advantage of working with the CompSci co-op office was the absence of “cold calls”. As you might know, sometimes technological companies post “eternally open” positions – you can apply, but the chances that somebody will ever reply are close to zero. Such job openings give you the following feeling: “Yeah, we are generally looking for new graduates or interns. Oh, you’ve sent us a resume – no, not exactly at this moment…” In my case with the co-op program, I got several replies within a couple of weeks, which gave me an encouragement that I will find a co-op position soon.
The resume writing course was really helpful. Because of it, I’ve improved the layout of my resume which helps readability. Afterwards, I had a couple of polishing rounds with my co-op advisor, and the resume was in human-readable shape. Another learning opportunity was learning to write cover letters; I am from a country where people generally don’t write cover letters when applying for vacant positions, so that was one area where I lacked skills. Again, after several sessions with my grad co-op advisor, I’ve become quite practiced with composing a cover letter from scratch.
The opportunity with Broadcom didn’t come right away. During my search, I had at least 3 interviews regarding positions advertised on Simplicity, and turned down two job offers (one was from India, another one was via the MITACS program).
When I landed my co-op position with Broadcom, I felt very lucky because it was everything I wanted:
- Internship in a big company
- Software developer position
- A project that has to deal with mobile technology (I am developing smartphone apps as a part of my hobby and my research also has to do with mobile phones)
I am so happy that the Computing Science department made the decision to have co-op for graduate students because it has opened up a wonderful opportunity to enhance my skillset and land a great job.