How Students Can Make A Good Impression At A Co-op Placement Or Internship

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Going out on a co-op work term or internship for the first time can be daunting. Aside from showing up to work, there’s a lot you should do to make a good impression.

Here are 7 tips to help you make the most of your experience:

Don’t wait until the first day

If you’ve been given your managers’ contact information, get in touch with her. Let her know that you are excited to start and find out if there is anything she can suggest for you to do before you arrive. This gives her a good impression of you before she’s even met you!

On your first day, come prepared

Bring in a copy of your job description as well as a notebook. You’ll be taking in a lot of new information, so it helps if you write it down.

It’s also super-important that you rest up the night before. Even though your job might not be tedious, being in a new environment is, so help your body out by getting some sleep.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. People know you are new, and in most cases, they’ll be more than happy to help. Don’t be intimidated if everyone seems busy. They are, but they’ll still find a way to help you – if you ask.

However, don’t overdo the questions. Don’t flood your supervisor’s inbox when you could have easily asked a co-worker instead.

Observe

Whenever possible, try to watch and see how your manager and co-workers interact (not in a creepy way, of course!). Maybe people at your company are very casual in conversation. How do people dress? How long do people typically go for lunch? Use what you see to help you fit in.

Ask for work

Each manager is unique. Some might delegate tasks to you, others might only give you work if you ask for it. Don’t be afraid to use the phrase, “Would you like me to do anything in particular today?” It always helps to be proactive at work. Plus, you might learn a thing or two!

When in doubt, check it out

If the work you are given is difficult and you aren’t sure whether you did it correctly, ask someone to look over your work. Your manager would definitely prefer this instead of finding a ton of mistakes later. You’ll find that as time goes on, you’ll feel more confident in your work.

Network!

Don’t hide in your cubicle at work! Introduce yourself to other people on your floor. Let them know that you’re a co-op student/intern and that you are interested in such-and-such field. More often than not, they will have worked in many areas and might just be able to provide you with advice! If nothing else, you’ll make some new friends.

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About the author

Valerie Aguiar is a graduate from the Management Co-op Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough and winner of the 2011 EWO Co-op Student of the Year award. Valerie works in sales at Nestle Canada, where she also completed a co-op term. Outside of work, Valerie is actively involved with a youth program for middle school children.