Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
OLC Student Community Coordinator

an ice hockey game with the view of the rink
"We want someone who does have some experience, but mostly we want to tell what type of person they are, if they're a self-starter, someone who can work independently, someone who's a quick learner, that's really big.... there's not a lot of time to go slowly into thing so we need someone who can adapt quickly"

Have you ever wondered where your SFU degree will take you? Sure, the ability to write a five-page paper on the history of the CBC at 2 am is admirable, but will it help you land a job? Maybe you've already asked yourself this and decided to work on gaining some work experience through the Co-operative Education Program, but how are you going to make the leap from a co-op student to full-time employee? I sat down with Karen Sum, SFU co-op alumni and website coordinator, to find out.

Karen started out with the Canucks as their web intern, but by the end of her work term she had secured herself a full time position.

"My internship was a little bit unique," she said. "In the fact that Kevin [the website director] was new, so we both kind of started together, so he was also still learning in his position and because of that he gave me a lot of responsibility as an intern...because there wasn't a lot of options where he was going to get help from."

For Karen, the biggest change in her jump from a student to full-time employee was the increase in her responsibility.

"When I did get full-time there was a lot less supervision, so he would give me a lot more things to take on, and I would have to figure it out more [on my own]."

As the website coordinator, Karen now has to not only stay up-to-date on all the latest team news, but also keep her eyes on the newest developments in the ever-changing world of technology. She advises students to

"be really curious, keep learning and wanting to do everything... Technology is always changing, so you have to stay on top of that, there's always something new out there and something to learn."

She also acknowledges that despite her success in becoming a full-time staff at, breaking into the competitive sports media industry isn't easy.

"In sports you have to have a thick skin," she said. "Because there are only so many jobs in the sports world, you have to be tough and be able to handle rejection and how the business works. It's like a fraternity in here, once you're in everyone's really good buds, but it's hard to get in."

"You have to read a lot, and really be engaged and keep up to date on it... there's so many people, you have to be the best at what you do... there's very few spots so the more you read, the more you research, the more of a leg up you have."

Besides keeping up-to-date on the latest trends, what can you do to set yourself up for success in whatever career you choose to pursue?

"Education is huge, I think that's the common theme,"

Karen said. She recommended students with similar career goals to take publishing classes and courses like Communications 226, Digital Media Communication Techniques.

"It's very practical," she told me. "You learn some video theory, which is good to know concept-wise so you know where to start, but it was a very practical course in that you had to shoot and edit and conceptualize all by yourself. It gave me a leg up, because I have this extra skill in addition to my degree that most people don't expect or have."

So you know the latest news, you've taken all the right classes, and now you're ready to take the plunge and apply for co-op jobs with, but wait - Karen has more advice for perspective applicants.

"We want someone who does have some experience, but mostly we want to tell what type of person they are, if they're a self-starter, someone who can work independently, someone who's a quick learner, that's really big.... there's not a lot of time to go slowly into thing so we need someone who can adapt quickly."

Excellent advice from a prime example of students achieving job success through Co-op. Don't wait until graduation to start your career .

Beyond the Blog

OLC Student Community Coordinator
visibility  112
Jul 12, 2011

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
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...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
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.


person with their head in a book
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.


You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Article Banner
Reconciliation at INAC: Towards a Renewed Relationship with Indigenous Peoples

As someone who has always been passionately engaged with both political and social issues, a job with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada checked two very important boxes. Little did I know, it would teach me much more than I could have ever expected. 

Diary of a Marketing Co-op: Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground

In this segment of Diary of a Marketing Co-op, I look back at the need to be assertive to meet never-ending deadlines and how to balance this with the ability to know when to go with the flow.

Oscar smiling at the camera next to his dog
Alumni Spotlight: Oscar Wong

After applying to 50 jobs and going out to 12 interviews, Oscar Wong wasn’t sure he was going to land his first Co-op. Finally, on the last day of the semester, Oscar was hired for a digital marketing role and he has never looked back. Now, as a Communication alumnus working as an Internal Communications and Design Specialist at Electronic Arts, Oscar is happy to share more on how he navigated from Co-op to career.