Niharika Sharma (she/her), a fourth-year arts and business student with a major in economics and a finance specialization, shares with us her wild and twisted journey of finding her co-op placements.
Niharika's co-op story
In her first year, Niharika was involved in many extracurriculars and volunteering. When she was applying for her first co-op, she had around 17 interviews and finally landed a position at a startup company.
Unfortunately, a month before her co-op was supposed to start, it got cancelled. So, during the first month of her term, she was jobless and was frantically looking for a co-op placement.
“I have a twin sister who works in Toronto, so I shifted with her and kept on applying from there because now I had a Toronto address on my resume and thought I might bump up the chances of an interview.”
From this, she received a few interviews, one of them being with a tax firm in Hamilton. She went there for a day and on her way back, she got a call from Bombardier with a request for an interview the next day.
“So, I went there and had a one-hour interview, and I could see that they really needed someone because they told me their existing co-op had to leave.”
“I was ballsy. I was like, ‘You need to tell me now if I’m getting this job or not.’”
The employer had to interview one other student, so Niharika decided that she might end up taking the tax firm position.
“30 minutes later, I’m in the taxi and thinking, ‘what did I just do?’ Then suddenly, I got an email from Bombardier titled ‘Next Steps for Onboarding Process’.”
Niharika quickly contacted her advisor asking for confirmation that it was a job offer. “I was pretty freaked out and nervous,” she says. Nonetheless, the employer at Bombardier hired Niharika as a quality project coordinator!
“I did eight months there and they wanted me to stay back for another four months, but I wanted to try different experiences.”
After Niharika’s placement at Bombardier, her second co-op was at CGI as a project control officer.
“The recruiter called me at 8 a.m. and I was half asleep. I picked up the phone and they asked for an interview. I immediately said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ while half asleep. I requested them to send me the details to my email and that’s how I got an interview.”
Lastly, Niharika’s most recent co-op was spent at the University of Waterloo as an operations specialist.
Niharika’s position at Waterloo consists of working with the account coordinators for jobs posted on WaterlooWorks. “I worked with all of them to make sure that students match with the employer,” she explained. Niharika is continuing her role at Waterloo for another four months.
Based on Niharika’s experience, she has gotten all of her jobs after cycle four. “I have seen that cycles 3 to 5 is a really great time to find jobs. Cycles one and two are the heaviest, but from cycle three, when new jobs come out every two days, you can find a job with really great learning experiences.”