By: Zahra Sakhi

As a recent Arts graduate, Kira Thomson knows the dynamic skills Arts students bring to the table.

Thomson, now a talent recruiter for ApplyBoard, became a passionate advocate for campus recruitment as a co-op student, which dramatically changed the direction of her career.  

“Co-op is extremely rewarding and worth the time and effort put into it,” says Thomson. “Because each time you try a new workplace, you figure out what you do and don’t like.”

A graduate of the Arts and Business co-op program at the University of Waterloo, Thomson (BA ’18) gained experience in four different industries during her co-op work terms, making her well-rounded and prepared for the future workforce.

Thomson’s own experience draws her to hiring students from her alma mater.

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Arts students can take a diverse combination of courses which provoke the development of difference-making skills, such as human-centric skills, critical thinking, people skills and communication. These are essential for the roles ApplyBoard hires, Thomson explains.

ApplyBoard, a tech organization, has a mission to connect students, recruitment partners and academic institutions.

When hiring, ApplyBoard looks for dependable students who are willing to take the initiative and accountability to perform their job responsibilities, especially while working remotely during COVID-19. The wide range of opportunities Waterloo Arts students tackle throughout their studies and co-op work terms allows them to shine in a complex, dynamic workforce like ApplyBoard.

Student speaking at an Applyboard event

“[We encourage them to] offer ideas about process improvement or anything that may go beyond the scope of their job,” Thomson says. 

"Arts students often know how to read people and tailor their communication approach to whomever they are speaking with."

This strong communication skill makes working remotely smoother for these students.

At ApplyBoard, Arts students are drawn to the enriching work environment with the customer experience and marketing teams, filling roles such as customer service coordinators, graphic designers, support officers and public relations specialists.

These jobs call for strong attention to detail, which Thomson says is a skill Arts students possess.

ApplyBoard often rehires students for return terms with some moving into more senior roles following their graduation.

“There are so many other ways to contribute to tech companies – like in operations and customer success,” says Thomson. “All of which are equally important to the success of the company.”

Making a difference for the community

Applyboard volunteering for a refugee cause

A vital part of a student’s co-op term is building relationships and developing skills in collaboration and communication. Arts students develop those skills at ApplyBoard through contributions to the community.

During the Spring 2020 term, co-op students took part in an initiative to raise $1,200 for Nutrition for Learning – a charity that offers universal access student nutrition programs in schools across Waterloo Region. Students ran an Instagram challenge, showcasing the creation of favourite snacks. Co-op students also ran a trivia game that encouraged learning about the cause.

“Coming out of the term, not only have they developed as professionals, but they’ve also made an impact on the community as well,” Thomson says.