Written by Nils Donnelly, current co-op student, Bachelor of Arts, third year.
It’s the bane of the university student looking for meaningful employment. Employers want to hire people with experience, but how do you get that experience if you can’t land a job in the first place?
What if you could gain the industry knowledge employers are looking for while growing your professional network? And what if you could do all this while applying your educational skills, and earning an income? If it sounds too good to be true, check out our top five reasons to apply for the UBC Okanagan co-op program!
1. Resume writing
An employer you’re interested in is currently hiring. What do you do now? Co-op Education provides step-by-step support as you create a polished and professional cover letter and resume. Think your experience flipping burgers will look ridiculous on an application for a junior developer position? Think again! All of your experiences have given you desirable and transferable skills. It’s a matter of presenting them appropriately to potential employers. The co-op program will help you develop these strategic resume and cover letter writing skills.
2. Interview skills
Through co-op, you’ll be presented with a range of opportunities for career development, but you have to put in the work to seal the deal. Part of this work involves the ever-nerve-racking job interview. Throughout co-op, you’ll gain valuable interview and networking skills through both practice and prep, as well as the confidence that will help you shine during the talent recruitment process. The key to success is preparation. Co-op is the place to strategize how you answer and approach interview questions before they’re asked, and provides a safe environment to practice, learn, and gain confidence before an IRL interview.
3. Explore career options
Co-op gives you access to opportunities across a variety of different industries and sectors. It’s a chance to get your feet wet before you go swimming, so to speak. You can explore different work experiences and career options that you will find both challenging and inspiring. Workplaces such as public organizations, non-profit agencies, large corporations, small businesses, and entrepreneurial start-ups are all looking for someone with your education, energy and enthusiasm.
4. Tailored support
Launching your career is hard work. It can be overwhelmingly exciting, but also daunting and disheartening at times. Luckily, the Co-op Office has your back. Their skilled and professional staff provide one-on-one coaching, job search advice, resume and cover letter review, interview practice, and so much more. If they don’t have the answers you’re looking for, they’ll find them, or point you in the right direction. They’re even there to support you while you’re doing your work term. Who said a job search isn’t a team effort?
5. Hands-on experience
Textbooks are great, they are vast treasure troves of knowledge, but a textbook can only take you so far. Potential employers want your initiative, resiliency and creative energy, and they also want to see that you have what it takes to thrive in a professional environment. When potential employers see co-op on your resume, they know you have demonstrated experience. Gaining industry exposure not only levels-up your resume for your post-graduation job search, it also increases your confidence in personal and professional interests and career direction.
The world of work is a competitive place. Having the practical and insider knowledge of how industries and organizations operate, combined with your education, positive attitude and demonstrated willingness to build transferable skills will help you shine come post-graduation job search time. Co-op is a valuable contribution to your hard-earned UBC degree and a learning experience sought by employers. Hit the ground running come graduation. Check out UBC Okanagan’s co-op program!