I began my co-op work term as a Beta Community Specialist Student at BlackBerry in Waterloo, Ontario, despite having never applied for the position. Although I submitted my resume to a handful of business units at BlackBerry, I did not consider this position, as it was not listed. However, a week after the application deadline, I was scheduled for an interview for the beta position and soon after, received the job offer. Although I was initially hesitant to accept the offer because the position was not what I had anticipated, I decided to take a risk and accepted the job.
During the middle of my term, I applied for the Marketing Coordinator Student position and extended my BlackBerry work term to eight months. It was only after I began my term on the marketing team that I realized the true value of having been on the beta team previously. My extended stay and job rotation made my experience at BlackBerry invaluable.
Without further ado, here are my top three reasons why you should consider a co-op work term extension and job rotation:
1. Exposure to a Diverse Range of Roles and Responsibilities
On the beta team, I was responsible for assisting the planning, coordination, and execution of internal pre-release BlackBerry software and hardware beta programs. I spent the majority of my time managing the internal beta program for SecuSUITE for Enterprise, an application that secures calling and texting communication. Conversely, on the marketing team, I was responsible for managing regional events through coordinating event assets and onsite logistics. Additionally, I supported the Canadian channel sales team by prepping and interpreting hardware sales data.
By experiencing different roles, I learned how to communicate with both stakeholders and external business professionals through different mediums. Furthermore, because my tasks were so diverse, I had the opportunity to learn how to use a variety of software including Salesforce and QlikView.
2. Deeper Understanding of Business Processes
My roles at BlackBerry both dwelled within the devices team, allowing me to provide new product introduction support for BlackBerry’s first Android device, the PRIV, in multiple ways. I facilitated its activities from pre-launch to launch to post-launch. On the beta team, I delivered reports on PRIV accessories by sending internal employees samples for testing, and captured their feedback by conducting surveys and hosting focus groups. On the marketing team, I supported carriers by supplying them with necessary resources such as seeding devices, marketing materials, and promotional products.
Through my extension at BlackBerry, I was at the company long enough to observe how the different teams worked together to bring a product to market, and learned of the steps necessary to ensure success post-launch.
3. Assess Interests and Skills
My role on the beta team was technical, whereas my role on the marketing team was non-technical; thus, I had the ability to explore my different interests and skillsets. After SecuSUITE’s internal beta server was set up, I provided administration and IT support to testers. This exposure has encouraged me to take more courses within the Management Information Systems (MIS) concentration to further explore the bridge between business and technology. In contrast, I was able to apply marketing and statistic concepts from school as well as develop my soft skills within the marketing role.
My extension and job rotation have truly provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my likes and dislikes, as well as my strengths and weaknesses. Taking a semester off to do a co-op work-term allowed me to discover my areas for improvement and identify the skills necessary to land the ideal job upon graduation.
I encourage all co-op students on work terms to consider an extension or job rotation. You never know where these opportunities will take you!