How to Make Co-op Work for You

How to Make Co-op Work for You

By: Courtney McKinnon | Environmental Stewardship Liaison
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This article was originally published in the Arts Connect Co-op Newsletter in Fall 2010.

Sometimes a Co-op job can seem like any other job. For a semester you go in to work, do what is expected of you, and then go home. Through the co-op program, though, you learn that jobs are so much more than that. As a Co-op student, you are in a unique position where your employer and co-workers understand that you are still learning and are more than willing to help in this process. They know that this is an opportunity for you to become familiar with a position you hope to fill in the future, or one that makes you curious to see what else is out there. Because of this, they are often very forthcoming when you have questions or show interest in their projects. By investing effort into these positions, you find that you can explore much more than the position for which you are hired.

As a Fundraising Coordinator for eight months, I expected only to collect donations. Instead, with a little investment, I found a position rich with opportunity. I had the chance to experience and hone my skills in marketing, data entry and analysis, and event planning. When I agreed to take on the position of Environmental Stewardship Liaison for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, coordinating distribution of educational materials, I did not expect to learn database design and maintenance or the creation of a digital office. By stepping out of the confines of my position description and comfort zone, as well as taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to me as a co-op student, I was able to create an enriching job experience. Investing time into the program led to my own personal growth. Even better than that, though, was the feeling I got when, after each co-op position, I was offered the opportunity to continue working part-time during my studies, showing that my enthusiasm and initiative impressed my employers. The Co-op program is a great way to explore career choices, learn new and unexpected skills, and form lasting relationships with potential future employers. The Co-op program can do all this for you and all you need to give is a little bit of effort and enthusiasm.

Beyond the Article

Posted on April 05, 2015