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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

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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.

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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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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.

 

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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... Co-op Reflections

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You Design, They Hold Stakes, We Make Cool Things: Becoming a Great Designer Is Simple, Right?
As Karen points out, students of the Interactive Arts and Technology program have been through years of design school! Designers know how to use Adobe Suite like a pro, and know to bring their A-game to the table every day, proposing fascinating new directions and brand-new visionary ideas. While designers are hired to learn and bring some ‘fresh perspectives’ to their co-op workplace, read on to learn how they can overlook some key parts of the everyday designer.
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A Celebration with 1,000 BC Tech Stars

In my work term with BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA), I had the opportunity to help plan and organize the company’s biggest event of the year, and it just so happened to be BC’s biggest and longest running technology awards celebration.

A photo of Lindsey Wu
Don’t Worry About Being a Small Potato

When you’re starting off in a new workplace, it can be daunting talking to people who carry the title of CEO, director, and everything in between. While you may feel like a small potato compared to the big spud, it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Lindsay shares her story on why your future self will thank you for building your connections early on through Co-op.