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SFU Co-op Student

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My co-op journey taught me a valuable lesson - your career is a non-linear journey and being able to take chances is essential to diversifying your skill set and finding out what you truly enjoy doing.

Last spring, I embarked on my first seeking semester for a co-op position. I am a third-year student concentrating in marketing, who had been working part-time as a server for the last few years. While I was attending various workshops and lectures, I found myself discussing potential co-op options with many of my peers and it seemed most of them had clear goals. Some wanted to work in finance and were preparing for positions at various banks or other positions which would seem to be along a specific career trajectory.

At this point, I realized that I had no clear job profile I wanted to strive towards or a specific area I wanted to target. I simply felt that I wanted some sort of experience in an office setting. At the time, I perceived this lack of a fixed goal to be a weakness. Aren’t these types of things supposed to be planned?

As it turns out, this ‘weakness” turned out to be an advantage for me in terms of securing a co-op position that I love! After applying for over 10 different positions and being through multiple interviews, I found a Communications Co-op job posting which I thought sounded interesting. This position was Employer Relations & Event Coordinator at SFU Career Services. During my interview, the friendly workplace atmosphere and productive conversation with my interviewers suggested the position may be a good fit for me. Although I wasn’t exactly sure if what the position would entail would be entirely related to my concentration, I decided to take the chance anyway. In retrospect, I am so glad that I did because in just four months I have learned so much. 

An image of the author working at the computer

The day to day tasks of my position revolve around event planning and some of these events include - employer info sessions, info tables, and the annual BIG Fair. In addition to this, I was given the chance to take initiative and play a larger role in the marketing team within the department, lending my time to different kinds of projects. This eventually led to the creation of an entire employer video series as part of the marketing campaign for the BIG Fair in 2018. I was able to take a lead on the project with the support of my supervisor, for which we interviewed four different individuals from SAP, Skybox Labs, STEMCELL Technologies, and Camp Pacific. I was also able to take on additional projects around the department that helped me improve skills related to my concentration, such as InDesign and Campaigner.

My co-op journey taught me a valuable lesson - your career is a non-linear journey and being able to take chances is essential to diversifying your skill set and finding out what you truly enjoy doing. If I had limited myself to purely marketing roles, I would never have had all these awesome experiences.

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Alexander on LinkedIn. 
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Mar 2, 2020

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