With classes to juggle, a social life, and maybe even a part-time job to manage, trying to find your first co-op isn’t always the easiest task.
Pinpointing the right first co-op can be difficult and even overwhelming at times. To help you streamline your search, here are some tips for finding the perfect first placement.
Use your resources
Before you start looking for co-ops, the first thing you should do is contact your school’s career and placement centre, says Pirom Houth, career and placement coordinator at the University of Guelph-Humber. Their advisors can help you learn about available co-op opportunities, and help you decide which type of co-op would best suit your needs, skill set, and career goals.
Figure out what skills you want to gain
While searching for your potential dream co-op, keep in mind where you want to see yourself after you graduate. There are two types of skills you learn through co-ops – soft skills and hard skills. Identify what career you’re working towards and try to find an co-op that can sharpen and add to the skills you’ve gained through your education and extracurricular activities.
Have no fear
One of the most common anxieties for students new to co-ops is the fear that they’re not good enough for the job, despite years of educational experience.
“Many students don’t view themselves as professionals,” says Pirom. This can cause students to doubt themselves. He encourages students to stay positive and change their mindset by viewing co-ops more like a career opportunity. “Even if you’re just getting coffee, give it 110 per cent,” says Pirom.
Don’t wait for the placement to come to you
Remember to give yourself lots of time and start looking for your placement early! If you’re not sure if a company has an co-op program, try contacting them directly through their human resources department. Many co-ops aren’t posted online, so contacting companies directly can really help get you ahead of the pack!
Finding your first co-op can be a daunting task, but with enough time and preparation, you’ll be sure to land the placement of your dreams!