By: Tiffany Liu
We all aim for an “outstanding” on our work term evaluations, but are you unsure how to get that “outstanding”?
Student advisor Cynthia McClare and account manager Melissa Plouffe share five tips to help you achieve an “outstanding” evaluation.
1. Ensure that your goals for the term align with those of your supervisor.
Do this at the beginning of the term. This way you ensure that you meet each other’s expectations so you have a fulfilling work term where you meet your learning goals.
2. Learn as much as you can and try new things.
Co-op is your opportunity to learn and gain skills in preparation for the job world after graduation. Take advantage of that opportunity by trying many new things.
3. Get ongoing feedback.
Don’t be shy to ask how you are doing. It is important for you to know early on if your supervisor is pleased with your progress and where there are areas in which you could show improvement. Make sure you understand the feedback you receive by asking more questions, and follow-up a short time later to see if you are showing growth in your role.
4. Deliver more than what is expected and be resourceful.
From reading “outstanding” work term evaluations by employers, Cynthia noticed the difference between “excellent” and “outstanding” often lies in initiative. If a student is assigned a certain project and they do an excellent job, they will likely receive an “excellent.” However, if the student goes above and beyond the project by inputting suggestions to add extra dimensions that were not originally expected of the student, it might result in an “outstanding.” The second distinction between “excellent” and an “outstanding” is in communication skills. Very good communication skills can propel a student to an “outstanding” evaluation.
5. Ask for a midterm review.
Generally, between 6 – 8 weeks after the start of your work term is a good time. Go through the work term evaluation form with your supervisor as if it was your end-of-term evaluation, making sure to ask where you are currently rated. This is gives you a heads-up on how your supervisor views the ratings, and gives you a chance to express what your goal is for the term and ask how you might achieve that goal.
Remember, work term ratings are subjective
There is a correlation between what the employer rates a student and what the students rate the job. What you received as your work term evaluation depends largely on your perspective regarding the quality of the job. If the student is excited and passionate about the job, they will likely go above and beyond expectations and it will yield a great work term evaluation.
In the end, if you are disappointed in your evaluation, your co-op work term is still a good reference for the future. Cynthia and Melissa encourage students to not put that much weight on what the rating was.
Do everything you can to do the best job and have that translate into a rating that you’re pleased with. In the end, look at the work term in its entirety: how you grew, contacts you’ve made, the experience you gained, so don’t focus too heavily on what your given evaluation is.