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SFU Co-op Studnent

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Shem Navalta in front of a communal room
I needed to change the way I was thinking. I needed to be open to opportunities that would help me grow.

I’m about to enter my fourth co-op term, giving me a year and four months' worth of design, communication, and event planning experience. Without a doubt, with the experience I’ve gained so far, I’m determined to reach my dream job after graduation. But I have to be honest, before finding my first co-op placement two years ago, I was out of touch with my career goals and set unrealistic expectations for myself. I had no plan or direction. Who knew what I was really doing…

In the beginning of my search, I was frustrated that the “ideal” job I had pictured in my head wasn’t available for me and that certain companies I wanted to work for were not looking to hire co-op students. I became very picky and rejected even looking at jobs based on the job title, company, and overall job description. If there was one thing I didn’t want to do on that job description, I didn’t apply.

After eight long months of not getting a single offer, I was tired of looking at jobs and felt very defeated. However, I decided to give myself one more term of searching, but this time, things had to be different; I needed to change the way I was thinking. I needed to be open to opportunities that would help me grow.

What does this mean for the first time co-op job seeker? It means: 

  • You’re not always going to find the “perfect job” or the “perfect company” for you.  Instead, seek jobs with aspects that can help you build the skills you want to develop.

  • Remember, a co-op job is an experience not a permanent placement. So, learn as much as you can and take your newly developed skills to your next job and continue growing.

  • Before saying “no” to a company prior to reading the job description, do your research and find out more about them. You’ll never know if an employer is a good fit for you until you do your research.

Once I had an open mindset, I started to map out the skills I wanted to work on and began to find jobs that matched those skills – even if the jobs had aspects I didn’t really want to do. More important was getting to build on the skills I wanted to improve so that in the future, I can get to where I want to be.

Within sending the first job application with my new mentality, I finally received my first co-op job offer, which happened to be in Calgary, Alberta for Devon Energy – a natural oil and gas company. Previously, I did not give much thought to working in the oil and gas industry. Although, upon reading the job description, I knew that the Creative Communication position would allow me to gain skills that I needed to start me down my career path. Also, after researching the company, I felt a lot more comfortable submitting my application.

Since then, I’ve been alternating back and forth between school and a new co-op placement. After Devon Energy, I was the Marketing and Communications Assistant for the Heights Merchants Association, a not-for-profit organization in Burnaby, and today, I am currently at SAP Labs Vancouver as the Communication Specialist.

Over the course of my three co-op placements, I’ve been able to design advertisements, help organize a massive street festival, be part of the communication team for a large office renovation project, design communication material that has been shared with top leading professionals around the world, develop projects and work closely with Executive Directors and COOs, and have extensively grown my communication skills in networking. These are just some of the experiences and skills I’ve gained so far and I know I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t changed my attitude and adopted an open mind.

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Studnent

Posts by Author

Annelyse standing in front of a window
Blog
Interview with an Arts Co-op Student: How a Policy Intern Position Improves your Writing

Meet Annelyse Ross, a Political Science and Social Data Analytics Co-op student. In this quick Q&A, Annelyse shares about her co-op experience. Read about how she discusses how she determines if a position is a good fit for her, what she did in her Policy Intern position and even how she got to travel as part of her position.

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Blog
Expect the Unexpected with Event Planning

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in the field of communications, but this semester, that was taken to the next level, as event planning became the focus. While most days were fairly regular office hours, I did once spend the weekend as a guide and mic runner for a research summit. Another time, I got to attend a free class in voguing!

Oliver, next to a computer with work on his desk
Blog
Captain’s log: a Co-op Students Guide to Navigating Their First Work Term

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely in the same shoes as I was, fresh out of an academic term and excited but anxious about your upcoming Communication Co-op placement. The question lingering in your head at this very moment is probably “what is this Co-op student rambling about, and can he just cut to the point?”. Well my dear reader, in this final entry of my Captain’s log, I will be going over my transformation from a bumbling Co-op student to a full-fledged Marketing Coordinator and give tips on how you too can navigate through your first work term.

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The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

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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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Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

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Feeling Stuck? Press Reset

You're stuck. Maybe it's a dead-end job, or the sense that you're studying the wrong thing, or with the wrong person, or just in a place you didn't want to end up, but don't know how to leave. If only it were as simple as pressing a button and starting over. We can't do that, but here's the next best thing.

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Working in Social Media Marketing When You’re An Introvert

I imagined that working in social media would be a walk in the park. After all, I’ve spent about half my life rotating through different apps every day like a very boring episode of Black Mirror. What I forgot to take into consideration was that despite its name, I’m not actually the most “social” person at all. Keep reading to learn all about my experience working in social media marketing as an introvert. 

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An Alternative to “Selling Yourself”

Have you ever been told that you have to “sell yourself” in order to succeed in finding a job?  Are you a reserved, overly modest introvert who shudders at the idea of “talking yourself up” to others?  If yes, then you’re in the same camp as me, and a whole lot of other generally nice, well-meaning people.