Tips for Co-op Hopefuls

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Tips for Co-op Hopefuls

By: Stephanie Liboiron | SFU Communication Co-op Student
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If you’re a recently admitted co-op student, you’ll know that preparing for a co-op term requires a lot of time and energy. A common remark heard from co-op students is that preparing for co-op is as much work as taking another course. In my experience, this is hard to disagree with! With so many workshops to attend, cover letters to write, and job postings to keep up with, it’s easy to fall behind. Here are some tips to help make sure you get a head start when applying to co-op jobs:

1. Start early! If your department offers them, attend one of the early co-op intake sessions. These are held towards the end of the semester prior to the term you are planning to apply for co-op jobs. This way, you’ll have more time to talk with coordinators and prepare your portfolio for the next semester.

2. Register for Bridging Online II prior to your first work term. You’ll learn effective ways of presenting yourself to potential employers, and how to help ease the transition from a university to a workplace environment.

3. Keep revising your resume. Start updating your resume as soon as possible, so you can get early feedback from coordinators and avoid rushing at the last minute.

4. Sign up for workshops ASAP! Not only are they free, they are extremely valuable. You can learn some great ways to improve your cover letters, interview skills, and job searches. Visit the workshop registration page to sign up for upcoming sessions.

5. Get to know your co-op coordinators. Your coordinators are a valuable resource and will help you every step of the way. They’ll give feedback on your cover letters, help you prepare for a job interview, and answer any general questions you have about the application process.

6. Volunteer for an organization related to your academic discipline and develop important skills that will make you more appealing to potential employers. Plus, you’ll gain some great experience and references to add to your resume. Even better, volunteer for the Co-op Community! You can write articles for the Community that can double as writing samples, and get a chance to interact with your fellow co-op students.

7. Keep up-to-date with new job postings. Once you get access to PlacePro at the beginning of the semester, new job postings are uploaded every day. Take note of the ones that interest you so you can start drafting cover letters immediately. Be flexible and apply for every job you might be interested in; by sending out lots of applications, you have a greater chance of landing an interview!

8. Hang in there! Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t offered a job right away. You still have a good chance of getting a job offer during the Lightning Round, when your coordinators automatically send out your resume to any relevant job postings. Many students don’t land a co-op job until the next semester, so keep applying for jobs for as long as you have to!

By preparing to apply for co-op jobs early, you can avoid missing job postings with early deadlines. Getting a head start could definitely give you an advantage over other co-op students and help land the position you’re after!

Beyond the Article

Posted on July 19, 2010