In my previous article, I dismantled four common reasons why people are afraid to do co-op. After chatting with some recently-graduated friends who are now struggling to find work, I've identified four more misconceptions about co-op that definitely deserve attention.
"But, it’s extra work on top of school"
Yes – it’s extra work. But when you think about the incredible amount of time and effort applying yourself now is going to save you in future, it’s truly not a big deal.
BOL 1 and 2 are very informative and take little time to complete. If you’ve made it this far in your Communications degree, you can complete these online mini-courses in your sleep.
The job search requires attention and writing cover letters can be grueling, but you have a talented team to support you and it’s excellent practice in a low-risk environment (and helps you develop arguably more important skills than your Q-elective about stars.)
"But, I have no experience"
This one hardly deserves acknowledging, but I’ve heard it so many times I have to address it.
I understand that as an inexperienced student, you likely lack the confidence it takes to believe that you’re capable of landing a job. But you’re better than you think. All those late nights spent to meet deadlines, the thousands and thousands of words you’ve written throughout your degree thus far, and every group tutorial presentation you suffered through have prepared you for this moment. So even if you haven’t ever worked in a corporate environment before, you’re valuable if you try.
"But, I have no idea what I want to do with my life (or career)"
Then co-op is the perfect opportunity! Here’s your chance to browse hundreds of different positions on Symplicity, talk to co-op coordinators about your ideas and past students about their experiences. Never again will it be totally acceptable for you to “try out” jobs for four-month stints. Apply to everything that sparks your interest, make the most of your experiences and I promise you’ll stumble upon your professional passion.
"But, I know exactly what job I want after I’m done school"
I was like you once. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and fully convinced I was going to be the editor of Vogue (okay… I’d settle for Cosmo) once I graduated. If you watched “Devil Wears Prada” or “Sex in the City” or any other movie that features some wildly successful, rich and inexperienced queen of the media industry and believe you now have an idea of what that career is like and how to achieve it, I’m sorry to tell you, but you’ve been duped.
Chances are, your dream job is something you didn’t even know existed when you signed up for university (mine certainly is). How will you know you like something until you try it? You’re in an incredible, unique situation in co-op where you can try out a job for four months. If you don’t like it, you don’t have a scar on your resume or a burnt bridge - you’ve got credits and a network and a perfect excuse to leave.
I can’t draw a stickman, yet I worked at an art gallery and loved it. I practically failed Grade 10 chemistry, yet had tons of fun writing for a blog about science PhD projects. Before you put all of your career eggs in one basket, I seriously suggest branching out and trying some jobs you may not have initially considered. You’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy them. (And if at the end you still want to be the editor of Vogue - go for it! Just enjoy working full time, for free, forever.)
Beyond the Blog
Still not convinced? Email the co-op team and get clarification about the things stopping you from starting your career through Co-op!