Tips for Co-op Lightning Round Success


Tips for Co-op Lightning Round Success

By: coopcom
  10852 reads

While it is a stressful time in the semester with exams and final projects upcoming, it doesn’t need to be for Co-op students who have yet to secure a work term for the upcoming semester. A large number of Co-op students are placed during Lightning Round and it’s a great time to find out about positions you may not have previously considered.

Over the past couple of semesters, student applications to the Co-op program have increased substantially, which means more competition for those seeking a work term. As we move closer to the summer semester, Co-op programs expect to see an increase in postings as employers have a clearer idea of what their staffing needs are.

To increase your chances of being placed, follow this quick guide to Lightning Round success.

Think Strategically

Do your job search documents (your resume and cover letter) adequately outline your skills, abilities and interests? Consider some of the following and take another look at your job search documents with a critical eye:

  • Relevant work and volunteer experience
  • Relevant knowledge and experience from your education
  • Particular skills and career interests you have
  • Technical skills

Not sure if you’ve got it all covered? Make an appointment with your Co-op Coordinator or Student Advisor to make sure that your job search documents are as strong as possible.

Short Notice Interviews

Things move quickly during Lightning Round so be prepared to attend interviews on short notice. To help you prepare for any upcoming Lightning Round interviews:

  • If you've been booked for an interview, carefully read through the Coordinator’s email about the interview and take note of any items you're meant to bring (ie: portfolio, references, writing samples, etc.)
  • Look online at the OLC’s interview question database.
  • Review past Co-op student’s work projects
  • Make an appointment to practice your interview skills with your Co-op Coordinator.

Do Your Research

Even though you don’t have much time, you need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge about the job, company and industry in an interview. Luckily you have all the information you need online and right at your fingertips.

  • Talk to your contacts about the position and/or company.
  • Browse through the company’s website to get an idea of what they do.
  • Think about how you will showcase your interest and enthusiasm to fit into their team.

Be Open to Different Opportunities

The position may not be the exact fit you had in mind but it might surprise you! Students are encouraged to talk to their supervisors if they see an opportunity to take on a project or have come up with a new idea that maybe wasn’t listed on the job description.

Be Flexible

Consider applying to jobs posted in different Co-op programs, changing your original length of term, type of organization, start and end date or willingness to relocate. This may open you up for a variety of positions to consider.

Consider a Self-Directed Work Term

Consider looking at external job posting sites including the SFU Career Services job listings, SFU Business Career Management Centre job listings, and other sites like, and company-specific employment listings. You may be able to count short-term employment posted outside of Co-op as a work term. Please see your Co-op Coordinator for more information about this option.

Overall, stay positive and keep a good attitude. There is a job out there for you, and after following these tips, you’re one step closer to finding it. Good luck and happy hunting!

Note: Not all Co-op programs refer to this period as a "Lightning Round," your experiences and expectations for late placements may be different, please contact your Co-op advisor if you have any questions.

Posted on August 26, 2012