Heading out on co-op for the first time can be daunting. For some students, co-op is their first time working in the “real world,” released from the safety net of classes and the familiar ease of retail and restaurant gigs. Luckily for all the anxious first-timers, there are hoards of seasoned students on campus who have been there and done that, and are now willing to share their tips for getting through your first co-op experience relatively unscathed, and maybe even successfully. Take note!
“When you’re applying, come up with a plan so you know what kind of jobs you’re looking for. Keep in mind what you want from a job so you make the most of it. Don’t be afraid of asking questions when you’re working and look for little projects to hop on to so you get the most out of it. It shows you’re a go-getter and want to learn.” – Eugenia Soiles, fourth year communications and criminal justice major
“There’s a lot you’re expected to do on the job, but the people who stand out are the ones who go beyond that; they ask questions and show innovation. What stands out is not only doing what you’re asked to do, but something other people haven’t done before. That’s where you’ll leave your mark. Also, go in with an open mind. You get from it what you put into it. Do some soul searching for what you want; there’s always a golden opportunity to take.” – Vineeth Nair, fourth year pharmacy major
“Know your resume inside and out when you’re interviewing. On the job, ask questions because that’s the only way you’re going to learn.” – Maya Lund, third year accounting major
“Be optimistic if you haven’t found a co-op yet. Don’t take not getting an interview or a co-op position as a reflection of your capabilities. There are some factors that you just can’t control. Also think about how you can build yourself on the job. Ask your manager [if you can] shadow someone or work on different committees.” – Ruby Khan, third year marketing and finance major
“Have a really good relationship with your co-op advisor so when new jobs come up on the system they know your name and what you’re interested in and may personally email you with the update. I even know co-op advisors from different majors who helped me find positions. On your last day working there bring the people you work with a snack as a way to say thank you and have a little party.” – Meaghan Harrigan, fourth year graphic design major