Skip to main content

Janette Lee

she/her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op, Study Abroad › Exchange, Study Abroad

Convocation procession at SFU

Yes, you read the right, I did seven Co-op terms while completing my Communication degree. I’m a firm believer of trying as much as I can during my undergrad, and I did exactly that. Starting off with working at a non-profit in events and social media, I then transitioned to a university in Kenya doing content development and research, a corporate position in Calgary, multiple roles at a digital marketing agency, working at a bank, and now closing my Co-op journey in the public sector. Being extremely fortunate to be able to try many Co-op positions, I’d like to share what I’ve learned from 28 months of working in communications.

1. Communications is broad

As you probably know, communications is an extremely broad field. From event management, internal communication to social media management and digital marketing, the list goes on and on. With each specialization being so different, I recommend working in different fields of communications to see which one you like best. Before starting Co-op, I thought working in social media would be my dream job position. After working in a social media, it turned out it wasn’t the right fit for me at all. In fact, it took several positions to figure out where my passion was . After many terms, I found out that I like working in corporate communications, especially internal communications catered to employees.

2. Every sized organization is different

Figure out what size of organization you like working in. I started out at a smaller company and I’m very glad I did. Smaller companies tend to be more hands on and have less approval levels, and you may have a variety of roles. If you like doing a variety of different tasks and a tight knit community, smaller organizations may be for you. I learned all the fundaments of working in communications there and I later brought that knowledge to other experiences. Corporate environments often have less flexibility in the ways things are done, and, in my experience, it can mean that there’s not much variety in the role. There may also be times where you aren’t getting tasks to do, but that’s when finding your own projects or passion projects come in. Some of my initiatives ended up being one of my bigger projects! Corporate environments also mean more co-workers, more chances to network, and generally more resources to upgrade your skills.

3. Have career talks with your manager and other people in the company

My favourite conversations with managers have had nothing to do with work at the company. Instead, I’ve asked them about their career paths and advice working in that industry. The work done at the company is important, but career advice will last a lifetime. If you’re an introvert like me and cold emailing strangers is daunting, ask your manager if they can do an introduction, or join student networks and coffee chat opportunities when available.One of my manager’s left me with a valuable piece of advice that I constantly remind myself of: Be confident when applying to new opportunities. Don’t back down if you don’t meet the all the criteria, they are only there as a guideline. Rejection is the worst thing that can happen if you don’t get the job, but you never know until you try.

I’ve learned that no one’s Co-op journey looks the same, and that’s ok! Overall, try and have fun in whatever role you’re. If you don’t like what you’re doing, that’s ok, move on to the next position that piques your interest. Do what makes you happy, whether that’s one Co-op, or seven! 

Author

Janette Lee

she/her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op, Study Abroad › Exchange, Study Abroad
visibility  241
Jun 8, 2023

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

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...

Working on campus
The 10 Minute Commute – Resources and Useful Information for Working on Campus

Have you ever thought about working in a place that you are familiar with?  Perhaps a Tim Horton’s close by? For many students the idea of working at SFU might be a great option, if you prefer a 10 minute jaunt to work after class or an opportunity to learn more about how a university operates.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Multiple guys in suits jumping in unison
Top 3 Tips to Create Your Own Luck for the Workplace

Are you finding that getting your dream job is unattainable and is only for the “lucky ones?” Create your own opportunities and luck when it comes to the workplace and discover how to land a job fresh out of university. 

Aboriginal Mother House building
Aboriginal Mother Centre

Aboriginal women and their children are among the most discriminated against and socially and economically disadvantaged living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Aboriginal Mother Centre offers a safe and caring long-term home and all of the resources necessary to assist mothers and their children in realizing a brighter future.

Timothy So at Blackberry in Waterloo, ON
An Arts Student in Tech

Timothy So is an Economics student who worked as a Statistical Methods Analyst at Blackberry. Read on to get a taste of what his position would entail.