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Carissa Tavares-Kwok

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

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white desk with open laptop, computer mouse, phone, notebook, and plant
Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash
In the end, think of it like this; experience is experience no matter the type. You should be proud regardless of where you end up working and know that you are taking the proper steps to further your career.

Co-op can be an overwhelming process.

You are entering a trial adult experience where you look for and apply for jobs. Don't get me wrong, it's entirely worth it. I would 10/10 recommend Co-op to anyone who would ask, and I am a strong advocate for getting experience for your future.

But what do you do when you are scrolling through the long list of job postings and a wave of companies and organizations blind your eyes? What type of company should you pick when all the roles seem the same?

That's where I come in! I have been very fortunate to have had a chance to experience working in three different sectors that Co-op offers, and I am here to give you some insights about what it’s like to work for each of them.

1. Non-Profit

The non-profit sector is a fulfilling industry to work in. You get the opportunity to work closely with a community and its stakeholders, while expanding your network with other community workers. If you have a particular passion or interest, there are many non-profits that will allow you to make a positive impact. However, I found that non-profit organizations are often limited in their resources due to funding, especially when working in a smaller organization. No fear, you will learn some creative and innovative ways to gain the same results at a lower cost!

2. Start-Up

If you love autonomy and ownership over your own work, a start-up organization may be right for you. Regardless of the industry, start-ups provide you with the opportunity to grow and get your hands dirty in real work. If you have the chance to work in social media or marketing, you may start with a small audience for your company, but you can watch it grow and see your ideas make an impact!

But be prepared to wear many hats in your role! Like non-profits, start-ups can have limited resources and often look for individuals who can be a jack-of-all-trades. While this may seem overwhelming, embrace these opportunities; they look excellent on your resume, expand your skillset and help you become a flexible employee.

3. Corporate

Corporations allow you to work with a large group of people working towards a common goal. If you ever wanted to spruce up your collaborative skills, corporate is the way to go. You will have the opportunity to learn from experts in your field and take a glance into the inner workings of your possible future career. A significant advantage is that you are not limited on resources. Have an idea? Give it a whirl, put some money behind it, and if it works, great! If not, don't stress about bankrupting the company; take your findings and results and apply them to better your strategy in the future. But don't forget, there are usually a few internal stakeholders that you need to get approval from, so, make sure you leave extra time for the chain of command.

In the end, think of it like this; experience is experience no matter the type. You should be proud regardless of where you end up working and know that you are taking the proper steps to further your career.

Although these findings are based on my own personal experiences, I hope this little blog post gave you some insight into what it's like to work in different types of organizations!

Good luck out there; you'll figure it out :)

About the Author

Carissa Tavares-Kwok

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

Posts by Author

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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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Cycling Out of a Cycle

As I was finishing my third and final lap biking around the Stanley Park Seawall, my legs felt like Jell-O. I never biked this much before (a whopping 53 km that day, by the way), which made me wonder why I agreed to go on a “short” bike ride with my new co-workers at Vancouver Coastal Health. Looking back, however, I am glad that I agreed to join the bike ride. Continue reading to learn how this activity got me to know my co-workers outside of work – something that I didn’t know I needed.

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Full-Time Co-op, Part-Time Artist: It Can Be Done!

I’m a student at SFU and on top of that, though, I’m a freelance creative. I do a bit of everything. As my first Co-op work term approached, I got nervous. I was terrified, frankly, that I would have to stop creating if I wanted to pursue full-time work. Keep reading to learn about how I learned to balance working full-time and being a freelance creative. 

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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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Non-Profit, Start-Up or Corporate: What's Right for You?
Co-op Reflections, Career Exploration, Student Success, Professional Development, Personal Development, Work + Volunteer

Co-op can be an overwhelming process. You are entering a trial adult experience where you look for and apply for jobs. But what do you do when you are scrolling through the long list of job postings and a wave of companies and organizations blind your eyes? Continue reading to learn about Carissa's experience working for a variety of industries. 

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5 Reasons to Consider “The Little Guys” for Your Next Co-op Search

Have you ever considered working for a small firm?  Nick Pochailo, a fourth year business student spent eight months working in a small firm and realized he reaped many benefits from a small firm that he might not have at a large firm.  Read on to find out why you should consider a small firm for your co-op.

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Great Minds Think Tech: Kiran Basra at Electronic Arts

For Kiran Basra, senior Communication Co-op student, working at Electronic Arts was a unique experience from the get-go. Between re-constructing her job description and fine-tuning her marketing analytics skills on-the-job, Kiran has re-defined what Communication Co-op students can accomplish. 

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Discovering a New Campus

Puppy Therapy, Laughter Yoga, and Knitting Club... Read about Megan's co-op experience at SFU's Health and Counselling and the valuable lessons learnt in this 8-month journey.