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SFU Co-op Student

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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 :)

SFU Co-op Student
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Oct 6, 2021

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