Five steps for co-op success

The process of embarking on your co-op career at the University of Waterloo is one that can be stressful. That feeling, however, relieves itself with practice and accessible support! Throughout your co-op journey at Waterloo, within Professional Development (PD) courses, contact with the Centre for Career Action (CCA), all the way to accepting your last offer before graduation, co-op at Waterloo is a rewarding experience to help jumpstart your career.


Coming from a first work term co-op student myself, I've had the privilege so early in my career to gain advice from various advisors and employees about how to maximize my time in the program. The five points that will be prioritized in this blog are all pieces of advice that I've been given and can be applied at any point in your Waterloo co-op journey.


1. Check the WaterlooWorks boards regularlyStudent scrolls through laptop during meeting.

The most valuable component to this process is checking the WaterlooWorks boards every day.

With a plethora of positions available within every cycle, students have the opportunity to search for jobs catered to location, faculty and even field of interest!

With the number of jobs available, scanning through all of them in one sitting can be a tall task, so break it up over the course of the cycle and make it a goal to view 10 or 15 a day!


Student holds a clipboard2. Apply apply apply! More applications = greater chance of getting an interview!

With the chance to submit applications for up to 600 positions every term, apply, apply, apply!

Try not to limit yourself to positions you see as more desirable than others as this may reduce the chance for you to enter different industries and find out what does and does not work for you.

 

By applying to more jobs you are also increasing the chance of being selected for an interview, which allows you to develop a valuable career skill! Part of your co-op experience is venturing outside your comfort zone, so take the opportunity to apply and use it to your advantage.  


3. Do not be discouraged - every term has multiple cycles!

My first co-op position, the one I am currently writing to you from, took me until the fourth cycle to find.

This all but proves that your job search really is not over until it's over.

The stresses of searching for jobs and waiting for interviews are inevitable but they should not act as a source of discouragement. Throughout the term, you have plenty of time to find work! Others may find jobs with the snap of a finger but that does not define your own journey.

You have to trust your process and keep your head held high. That is what I personally experienced and the satisfaction of receiving an interview and a match was something I will never forget.


4. Contact CCA for interview practice and résumé critique

Student receiving pointers on a resume.

During this process, it is highly encouraged that you seek support whenever it is necessary for you.

Alongside my PD teaching assistants, the Centre for Career Action was always there for me during the early stages of my co-op journey.

Their support with career advice, crafting résumés and practicing for interviews was valuable and provided me with the confidence to flourish in my job search.

 

5. Attend an employer information session (EIS)!

What better place to directly connect with recruiting employers than an EIS! It is a great way to gain advice from tenured co-ops who have worked for various employers and network with employers in industries you are interested in pursuing.  Make sure to keep an eye on the Employer Information Sessions calendar on WaterlooWorks for opportunities to register for these events as they generally only occur throughout the first couple months of the term.

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