Top Tips: Prepare for your Co-op Work Term


Top Tips: Prepare for your Co-op Work Term

By: OLC Community Team
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You’ve done it. After hours of nitpicking your resume, proof reading cover letters and dressing up for who knows how many interviews, you finally landed that position you’ve had your eye on for weeks. Mission Accomplished! Congratulations, you’ve made it.


But wait… the journey is only just beginning. Now you actually have to work at this place that found you impressive enough to hire. Now you need to live up to, and hopefully exceed the expectations you’ve put out there.

Lucky for you, the OLC has tips from SFU students and Co-op Coordinators and Advisors who’ve been there, seen it all and know an employer's perspective.

  • Always be ready to WOW your employers - make sure you do your research and show passion into wanting the job you were interviewed for!

- Jeremy Mamisao, 4th Year SIAT Co-op Student

  • Brush your teeth, comb your hair, wear deodorant and a smile. 
  • Bring a notebook and pen....and use it to make notes of names, projects, tasks, acronyms, questions.
  • Ask for an organizational chart and/or department chart if it is a large organization.  It helps to have a visual understanding of the context of your co-workers and your own position. 
  • Understand and accept that you will be in a steep learning curve when you start and it may take a few days, weeks or even months for this to level out to a point where you feel comfortable with your tasks and responsibilities.  
  • If you have any questions or concerns that you are not sure how to address or who to talk to, get in touch with your Co-op Coordinator.  They can help you navigate potentially sensitive conversations or situations. 
  • Be prepared to work hard and develop a strong work ethic.
  • Above all bring your good manners to the workplace.

Shauna Tonsaker, Program Director, 
Co-operative Education, SFU Beedie School of Business

  • Ask questions. Don’t blaze through tasks you don’t understand. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid or bothering your employer. Ask questions and ironically you won't look stupid, bother your employer and you'll really know what to do.
  • Try to arrive 15 minutes early and leave 15 minutes late, it’s a way to show your commitment.
  • When you arrive in the morning avoid getting into a big chat with your office mates,  instead go straight to your voice mail and check your email to see if there is anything important you need to attend to right away.

Caroline Wakelin, Co-op Coordinator, Beedie School of Business

  • Research the company, it’s products, and any current projects as much as possible. That way you’ll be ready to jump in as quickly as possible.
  • If you can, email your supervisor with any questions about dress codes, hours, parking ect. before you start, just a few less things to worry about on your first day. 

Elizabeth Moffat, SFU Co-op Student

What tips do you have for success or concerns do you have for your first day of work?  Share them in the comments below.

Posted on November 28, 2011