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This article was originally published on SFU News on October 3, 2017. View the original article here.

Take every opportunity to gain industry experience before you graduate. That’s Kelly Furey’s advice for students who are looking for a competitive edge in the job market.

Furey is graduating on Oct. 5 with a BA in communication and a minor in publishing after accumulating just over a year of communication and marketing experience at top public relations agencies in Metro Vancouver.

It’s all due to her participation in SFU’s co-op education program.

“I learned valuable technical skills, like story pitching, developing communication strategies, and analyzing campaign analytics, that go along with my theoretical classroom work,” says Furey. “Co-op gives you a head-start on gaining experience in jobs you’d compete for after you graduate, while you’re still in university.”

Her investment in co-op began paying dividends while she was still in the program.

“After I had gained some job experience, I noticed when I began applying for other jobs that I would get more and more interviews. It’s an amazing feeling knowing you’re a top candidate for many of the jobs you want.”

In addition to the co-op program, Furey gained further work experience from her activities on campus. She held various volunteer positions including a student communications role with CityStudio, an elected position as a student representative for her faculty, and serving as the corporate relations director for SFU’s Young Women in Business chapter.

“There are many ways you can build your résumé while you’re completing your degree. Your time at SFU is a great opportunity to find out what you like and don’t as well as what your strengths and weaknesses are.”

Furey’s now ready to connect with the network of industry professionals she acquired during co-op as she seeks her next job opportunity. 

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