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Jimmy Ho

He / Him
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Public + Community Relations | Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing
Internship

Organization
Position Title
Working as a Digital Media Coordinator for one year at BCNET offered a transformative experience that contributed significantly to both my professional and personal growth.
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Spring
Summer
Year
2022
2023
Skills
Introduction + Preparation

This marks my first co-op term and, simultaneously, my experience in an office setting. Prior to this co-op opportunity, my professional journey unfolded in the retail sector, where I spent two years honing my teamwork, customer service, and interpersonal skills. Entering the co-op seeking term without a portfolio and lacking hands-on experience in the communications field left me grappling with uncertainty.

I underwent roughly 20 interviews, both in person and virtually, during my co-op-seeking semester. Failing to secure a position initially left me feeling somewhat defeated. I began taking notes during interviews and reviewed them afterward. Over two semesters of job searches, with guidance from the co-op coordinator who helped review and enhance my application and interview skills, I finally secured a position at BCNET as a digital media coordinator. The opportunity came to my attention through the co-op job posting portal, prompting me to apply. I skimmed through the job description and realized that my profile matched 60 percent of the role’s requirements and skills. Considering this was already my 30-something application, I couldn't help but felt a sense of incompetence. 

The interview process consisted of a single virtual round with the director and my current supervisor, with the final step being a background check. Before the interview, as usual, I researched the organization, reviewed my notes, prepared nessessary documents. During the interview, I fielded several questions about my knowledge and experience in graphic design, social media management, teamwork, ability to pay attention to detail, and interpersonal skills. I didn't feel confident after the interview, given that I was not satisfied with a few of my answers. I received an email from the co-op coordinator a couple of days later, confirming my preferred contact details as the employer couldn't reach my former manager at a retail store. I recall receiving that email in the middle of another interview, inducing a moment of panic. A few hours after confirming my contact list, I received a job offer from BCNET. At that moment, I knew my dedication and persistence had paid off.

Before my onboarding day, I dedicated time to refine the skills that I felt less confident about. Specifically, I worked on enhancing my graphic design skills by watching tutorials on YouTube and LinkedIn Learning.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

The onboarding process at BCNET was methodical, involving a two-week training period facilitated by current co-ops. I received a work laptop and necessary devices to accommodate my work both at home and in person. I was introduced to the office space, including my designated work area, scheduled meet-and-greet sessions with colleagues. I worked on a team of five people who were supportive and approachable whenever I had questions. I familiarized myself with new software and applications required for my daily tasks, as well as gained an overview of BCNET's culture and achievements. Cybersecurity posture maintenance was emphasized during training. Actively asking questions and confirming my expertise level on certain subjects helped me learn and acquire more from my trainers. 

BCNET is a not-for-profit, collaborative shared services organization, focused on delivering services for B.C.’s higher education and research institutions in the areas of networking, information technology, cybersecurity, educational technology, ERP and procurement. Working in this field was a new realm for me. I delved into BCNET's publications to understand the organization better. In my initial weeks, I dedicated extra time to reviewing training materials and acquiring necessary skills to ensure success in this position.

Day to Day

As a digital media coordinator, my tasks involved supporting BCNET in building an effective visual brand/identity and maintaining an online presence to support the organization's goals. Working closely with the communications manager, I contributed to building and designing executive member reports, creating PowerPoint presentations, designing infographics and digital marketing, social media campaigns, website content, and news stories. I ensured that all creative work adhered to BCNET's brand standards.

Working at BCNET has allowed me to engage with various projects and tasks, one of which involved serving as on-site staff for BCNET member events. I was responsible for coordinating presentations and managing the event mobile application. I also helped the event manager with event logistics, assisted to build event print and digital materials.

Learning and Adaptation

I actively sought to learn and adapt. I asked questions to ensure task clarity, took detailed notes during meetings, and created to-do lists. I reached out to team members for organizational tips as my position required dealing with numerous files. I had weekly touch base meetings with the team, which helped me quickly familiarize myself with the job. Embracing mistakes as learning opportunities, I continuously improved with the backing of my team. 

I observed how my colleagues communicate about work, learned email etiquette, and began engaging in more conversations. It marked a significant transformation from school to a 9-5 lifestyle.

Accomplishments and Challenges

A notable accomplishment was a four-month project to construct executive member reports, emphasizing attention to detail and effective project management. I received positive feedback from my manager, which acknowledged my efforts in simplifying the process and ensuring precision. Prior to my departure, I left a lasting creative legacy, I designed name badges and tickets for BCNET's biggest annual conference, showcasing my creative skills and setting a visual identity for upcoming events. Moreover, I contributed a virtual background for the organization, receiving favourable feedback from coworkers.

The journey hasn't been without its challenges. Engaging with different and unfamiliar tasks, software, terminologies has been a learning curve. Lacking prior experience in content management software, I embraced the opportunity to acquire this skill. I joined BCNET during a transformative phase in its digital presence, which meant adapting to changes and investing time in learning. As an eager learner, I actively sought online resources to supplement my training and ensure I could contribute effectively to the organization's evolving needs.

Social and Extracurricular Activities

Outside of my professional responsibilities, I participated in BCNET’s social and extracurricular activities. I have embraced the opportunity to lead an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) project at BCNET, where I contributed to initiatives aimed at promoting a more inclusive workplace. Additionally, I have volunteered to support the Future Youth Education Fund, which BCNET supports, reflecting my commitment to giving back to the community and investing in the educational journeys of the younger generation. Throughout my work term, i joined BCNET with social events, such as the summer staff activity, holiday party, halloween costume competition, and monthly catered lunch. These gatherings provided valuable opportunities for me to connect with my coworkers and strengthen professional relationships.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Working as a Digital Media Coordinator at BCNET offered a transformative experience that contributed significantly to both my professional and personal growth. Professionally, the role exposed me to a diverse array of applications and software, expanding my skill set in graphic design, social media management, digital marketing, and event management. Stepping out of the job, I have gained new friends and connections. This experience at BCNET provided me with a deeper understanding into higher education, technology, cybersecurity, and IT—areas that were previously unfamiliar to me. On a personal level, this role built my confidence through overcoming challenges, embracing mistakes as learning opportunities. 

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

As a communications and publishing student, my role at BCNET aligns with my academic background and career goals. The opportunity to engage in projects at BCNET complemented my academic focus on effective communication and visual storytelling. It enabled me to further develop my graphic design skills, understand the social media management, and contribute to digital marketing campaigns—essential aspects of the modern communications landscape. 

Advice for Future Students

Future students, here are some quick tips:

  • Take notes during interviews to show your engagement and use that as reflection.
  • Don't be disheartened if your first co-op search takes longer; persistence is key.
  • Seek guidance from your co-op coordinators—they're there to help with your applications
  • Tailor your applications to each position, showcasing your genuine interest.
  • Confidence matters, so believe in your abilities and what you bring to the table.
  • Embrace continuous learning, adaptability, and network actively.
  • Reflect on feedbacks, using it as a tool for improvement.

Author

Jimmy Ho

He / Him
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Public + Community Relations | Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing
Internship
visibility  463
Feb 12, 2024