Skip to main content
Arts + Social Sciences
Co-operative Education

Annelyse standing in front of a window
What are you studying at SFU, and what year are you in?

I am studying Political Science and Social Data Analytics. I have completed my Political Science Undergraduate and I have one semester left of my Social Data Analytics Degree.

What co-op work term(s) have you done?

My first co-op work term was a Constituency Assistant position.

My second co-op term was as Jr Officer with the a government organization. 

My third and final co-op term was Policy Intern with Environment and Climate Change Canada's Carbon Markets Bureau's Engagement and Assessment Team.

Being a policy intern allows you to enhance your communication and leadership skills. Do you feel your skills in these areas have improved this term?

My skills have definitely been improved in my most recent term. I did independent research on a topic assigned to me. I had to gain a thorough understanding of the topic/issue area, find new research, ideas, modelling and conclusions and connect them to the work of the the organization and what they are concerned with. This practical writing experience strengthened by synthesis skills, analysis skills and my ability to connect ideas back to the main point of the paper and work of the department. 

How did each co-op experience differ for you?

Working for a federal department/bureaucracy is a unique experience. The teams are very supportive of your growth and networking and lots of opportunities are presented for one to take. It is very writing heavy so one must enjoy writing, reading and learning.

Working in a constituency office is a lot of office work and constituency relations, talking to constituents, and explaining policies and programs over the phone and email. The writing is shorter and less research is required but there is less room for error as one is representing a MP. More social skills are developed in a MP's office through talking to constituents and this is very valuable as it makes you more confident in yourself and braver.  

Can you tell us a highlight from your co-op experiences (or one from each if you’d like)?

As a constituency assistant in a MPs office I got to go to Ottawa for a week. I saw Confederation Building and the House in Session. It was amazing and is something I will always cherish. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your co-op experiences?

The importance of having outlines and continuously making sure each paragraph ties to the main point of the paper for government bureaucracy research papers. Department research papers must be very succinct and easy to understand by many people so its important to above all have things be clear. 

What criteria have you used to evaluate whether or not a position is a good fit for you?

If it aligns with my long terms work goals and skill development. I wanted to further my writing skills and the two positions with the federal bureaucracy have done that for me. 

What have your employers or workplaces done to help you feel comfortable, supported and/or successful during your work terms?

The employers give feedback in a very comfortable way in the federal bureaucracy, and it makes it easier to learn when you feel other are okay with you making some mistakes or not being perfect. In a constituency office you feel a part of a close team and can make lifelong connections. 

What would you tell seeking students going into their first co-op?

I personally struggled to land my first co-op position as I was applying for positions that people who had already done a co-op term before were applying for as well. Your first co-op position may likely be lower paying and less responsibility, but it sets the foundation for your next two co-ops to be really great. So don't get discouraged. 

The most important reminder is that in interviews, the second question the interviewer will ask (after please introduce yourself) is regarding what you know about this company. Many interviews are online, so write out bullet points on your skills (your STAR) and points on what the company does, print out this paper and put it up against your computer. It is ok to seem like you are referring to some notes in an interview (just no googling during the interview). Opportunities come to those who are prepared, so really prepare for interviews as it will help you eventually land a position.

Co-operative Education

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
Blog
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Blog
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Blog
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

You Might Like These... Academic Success, Convocation, Professional Development, Major Decisions, Life Experience, Community

Photo of Aleeze Asif
The Journey from Business to Arts

Aleeze reflects on a major career decision that led her to switch majors from Businesss to SIAT and how that positively affected her life.

Balloons floating in the sky
How my First Co-op Position Inspired me to Dream

As an undergraduate student who decided to switch my degree from Psychology to Communication on a whim, I was very nervous about my future career path, especially since I felt like I was the only person that had no big dreams in life. Therefore, I decided to apply to Co-op to start piecing together my goals and ambitions.

A laptop on a desk with a site containing different scenic images
What did I do to Extinguish my Co-op Nerves?

This was it. I finished writing my resumes, successfully passed the interview process, and accepted the job offer with cheers of joy. I told my mother with a large grin on my face, but in the midst of my excitement, my smile slightly lowered, and a wave of nervousness washed over me.

You Might Like These... Personal Development

Brianna standing in front of a Communication Banner
I’m Starting a Minor Late Into My Degree... Now What?

Picking a major is a journey in its own rite, now you’re considering taking on a minor on top of that? Sometimes, this task tends to be pushed aside for another time; then suddenly, you’re in your third year at SFU and have yet to pick a minor. The job may be difficult, but with enough planning and research it is doable. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s some information that may help guide you when starting a minor later into your degree. 

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

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.

Nicole standing next to construction material while wearing a construction uniform
Fish out of Water: Finding my Place in the World of Construction

There is a certain level of confidence you surround yourself with when going into your second work term. Suddenly, you’re not junior anymore and you have some legitimate experience on your belt. That experience can be used as almost a protective shield when going back into the workforce, especially when there’s a new element introduced. It’s no longer remote.