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Mustapha Jumare

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

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Open laptop on black table with google search of "how to co-op?", in between a mug and stack of books. Background of image shows icons of paintbrush, camera, blackboard with math, atom, money, and construction worker.
Being able to talk about what you love (literally any activity) showcases your personality, dedication and experience in something, and even better if you can connect it to the job description.

During my semester of scouring through SFU’s myExperience portal for jobs, I had to learn a lot of things the hard way, which probably led to me getting a job pretty last minute. But I don’t think I’m the only one who has fallen into the trap of destructive habits that creep through the cracks on the road to success. Below is a list of things I wish I had known when I started seeking for Co-op jobs that I hope will help other Communication Co-op job seekers.

1. Check Emails for Deadlines and Opportunities
Person at a desk with a laptop looking bored.
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Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

It is very easy to miss important emails during this period, as us students may have become accustomed to checking school emails only once a week. This would be fine during a normal semester, but during your seeking semester you need to look at your email every day. Announcements you can miss include new job postings, interviews, module deadlines, free events, courses that improve your employability and many others I would love to mention (but I’d rather you just check your emails).

2. Gain Experience Beforehand
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Rodnae Productions from Pexels

Ever seen the memes about needing work experience to get work experience? Yeah, that’s you right now, but don’t despair! You have a whole semester to find something to add to your resume (trust me, I was able to gain a lot of valuable experience in 2 months alone). Being in a university gives you extra access to opportunities most people don’t have. Click here to see a list of ideas. This also leads me to the 3rd most important point…

3. Do What You Love
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Terje Sollie on Pexels

Going into an interview, one would assume you’d be asked the basic questions on the list given to you on your Co-op guide, but that is not always the case. A lot of the time employers want to see your personality; they want to work with a human being and not a robot. Being able to talk about what you love (literally any activity) showcases your personality, dedication and experience in something, and even better if you can connect it to the job description. During the pandemic I worked in the film industry a bit and picked up videography, which may have the only reason my resume stood out from others. So, just have constructive fun!

4. Actually Apply to at Least 3 Jobs a Week (especially for international students)
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Sora Shimazak on Pexels

During your intro to Co-op, you were probably told how often you need to apply for jobs. For my fellow international students, you probably need to work overtime on this. Given the current climate, half of the jobs relevant to you might require you to be a citizen or a PR due to government funding. This can demotivate you, yes, but it is an opportunity to push yourself harder than most. You can also use connections you built in the past to get hired. It's not always about what you know, but who you know. Depending on your competency, you can be trained in anything. Just make sure you don’t take a course overload when you are seeking, because cover letters take time! 

5. Check Out Jobs Outside Your Field
Person in a lab coat looking through a microscope.
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Pixabay

As a Communication student, you are a jack-of-all-trades and the world is your oyster, as every industry has a Communication department. I work in biotech for goodness sake, and I had no interest in biology before (love my job though). You can look at job descriptions posted for other SFU Co-op departments and see what fits you most, like graphic designers for the science department, as an example.

6. You Can Ask for Help
Little wooden tiles that spell out "ask for help".
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Brett Jordan on Pexels

I have a habit of not asking for help, but it doesn’t have to be yours too. Get out of your comfort zone and ask the ‘stupid’ questions. I promise you everyone has the same question. Nobody expects you to know everything, and you have a wonderful team of Co-op Coordinators who care about your success and safety, to the point where they apply to jobs for you at the lightning round stage of your search. They are your career coaches, so go to them with your questions and doubts.

I hope these tips will help your transition into Co-op job search. I wish you all the best opportunities and success this experience has to offer you. And don’t forget, you can always get help!

About the Author

Mustapha Jumare

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Connect with Mustapha on LinkedIn.

Posts by Author

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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".
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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.

 

Open laptop on black table with google search of "how to co-op?", in between a mug and stack of books. Background of image shows icons of paintbrush, camera, blackboard with math, atom, money, and construction worker.
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Blog
What I Wish I Knew When Seeking Co-op Jobs
Co-op Reflections, Seeking, Personal Development, Professional Development, Workplace Success, International

During my semester of scouring through SFU’s myExperience portal for jobs, I had to learn a lot of things the hard way, which probably led to me getting a job pretty last minute. But I don’t think I’m the only one who has fallen into the trap of destructive habits that creep through the cracks on the road to success. Below is a list of things I wish I had known when I started seeking for Co-op jobs that I hope will help other Communication Co-op job seekers.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

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Finding That Work Culture Fit

Before hitting submit on that job posting, you may be asking yourself: “Would I blend well with the culture and dynamic of this organization?” For Anna, this question was the ultimatum that steered her away from pursuing a more structured marketing position. Instead, she accepted an opportunity with Silverstring Media. Here, she found her niche creating illustrations for independent media that strongly aligned with her own values and beliefs.

Wax transfers of medical drawings. The diagrams are from the Grey’s Anatomy medical book
Discovering What It Takes to Succeed in a Physiotherapy Clinic
Joanne is a BPK co-op student who did her placement in a physiotherapy clinic. In this co-op reflection she shares what her main duties were in the clinic and what she has learned about the position, working in a clinic, and about herself.
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Technical Writing for the Creative Writer

Creativity doesn't stop in the world of a technical writer.  Emily reveals how writing "is often much more than imagery and metaphors" and that stepping out of your comfort zone might just reveal a whole new path.