Reasons why CO-OP is beneficial for YOU – Gain valuable work experience with your studies!
By: Cassandra Estefanos, CO-OP student in Communication
CO-OP allows you to test-drive your career and studies. Over the course of the CO-OP program, you gain so much work experience along with your studies. It allows you to work with different government departments, large organizations, companies or startups that can help you jumpstart your career. Along with the work experience, you will find aspects of the field that you may like or dislike and other areas that you may want to explore. It’s an insight into your future. If there’s something about the field of study that you’ve chosen that you don’t like, CO-OP allows you to catch it early on. It gives you a chance to reconsider, look at other options or focus on another area of the field that might be of interest.
For instance, before my first CO-OP work term I had no idea what to expect, I wasn’t quite sure if I would enjoy the tasks I would be doing, since most of my classes were very theory-based. After a few weeks, I got a taste of it and realized there were aspects of communication that I liked or disliked regarding tasks, work environment etc. These are elements that I will consider when applying for jobs in my next work term, and also after I graduate.
Applying skills learned in the classroom to the workplace. We spend the majority of our life sitting down in classrooms, learning about different theories and concepts and developing skills that we will need to succeed in the future. But why not apply those skills directly as you’re studying? The University of Ottawa CO-OP program allows you to do that. Over the course of your four placements, you will apply the skills you’ve learnt in the classroom to the workplace. For example, if you are a communication, political science or English major, you will be putting your writing skills that you’ve developed through countless essays to work. You will realize the importance of your classes and how they will benefit you in your professional life when you start applying their lessons in real life.
Help develop and perfect your professional skills. Taking part in the CO-OP program doesn’t just give you valuable work experience — it also allows you to perfect your professional skills. There are so many challenges that we need to ace before “landing” the job. This is where CO-OP ensures that you are well prepared for interviews and that your resumé is well written. For instance, if I applied for jobs with the resumé I had before CO-OP, I would have definitely not gotten any interviews, since it was not very specific and didn’t show the skills that I had to offer. The program showed me the important elements of a strong resumé and what kind of information is relevant and will make me stand out. Also, over the course of the work terms, you will go through numerous interviews. The interview process will allow you to see what employers are looking for, the types of questions that are asked and the answers that are expected from you. Taking part in many interviews now prepares you for when it comes time to find your first actual big job.
To conclude, being a part of the CO-OP program has been the perfect way for me to get my foot in the workplace door. I’m able to learn a lot about myself and different aspects of the profession. In addition, I get to develop new skills while applying other skills that I acquired throughout my courses. Overall, the CO-OP program is a great experience as it is giving me valuable work experience while I study. It will give me an advantage over my peers when it comes to landing a job once I graduate.
Take a look at the CO-OP Programs' website