This past semester was my first looking for a co-op position during the pandemic as I was lucky enough to have received an offer for the summer 2020 term before the pandemic even began. This semester presented new challenges as I adjusted to how hiring managers conducted interviews and other assessment components. Although the search was stressful at times, I found my way through and managed to land my last co-op at AdParlor as an Account Coordinator during the winter 2021 semester. I’m ecstatic to be working with paid social media ads and improving my overall digital marketing skills! Throughout the process of landing this co-op, I learned a few things that I hope will provide insight on how the co-op job hunt process works and also how you can land a co-op!
1. Apply consistently
It is up to you to apply to jobs, but the university simplifies the process by having an internal job board, so you don’t have to scour the Internet for job postings. Some of the postings on the internal job board are exclusive to Ryerson students, which is what makes the co-op program so great! Students are also allowed to apply to jobs not on the co-op portal if they choose too as well. Over time this can mean a lot of job applications, and it can be hard to stay motivated when you have applied to several postings you feel passionate about and may have not heard anything back. It’s important to remember to continue to apply to new postings a few times a week as employers’ timelines for hiring may be different. Some of the employers you applied to may reach out in a couple of weeks for an interview, and so not hearing back right away should not be a reason to stress. However, you should keep applying to other job postings as you wait to hear, as you don’t want to miss out on applying to other postings before they expire. The same goes for still applying even when you may have interviews lined up as you may be a great candidate, but the competition can be stiff.
2. Don’t be afraid of rejection
You may not always land the interview or the job, and that’s okay. Don’t let past rejection or the fear of rejection stop you from applying for jobs. This semester I was rejected for a co-op position that I was really excited about after interviewing with the company, but in the end, I landed a co-op position that I’m even more excited about. Sometimes rejection is meant to be!
3. Know what to expect
The key for landing co-op positions for me has always been being well prepared. This includes ensuring your cover letter and resumé not only showcase your skills and experience, but also follow the proper formatting that hiring managers expect. Many employers look at the GPA of co-op students, but the key to actually receiving an offer is delivering a great interview. This means being prepared for the different types of questions they may ask, being personable and ensuring professionalism. As a co-op student you’re not expected to know how to do all of these things off the bat, which brings me to my fourth point.
4. Take advantage of the Business Career Hub
All business students have access to help from the Business Career Hub for specialized help on how to create an amazing cover letter and resumé, as well as how to prepare for interviews. Co-op students all have their own co-op coordinator to provide extra help. When I first entered the co-op program my co-op coordinator provided edits for my resumé and cover letter that put me on the right track for all of my co-op terms. I also did a mock interview where I learned how to prepare for the different types of questions that employers ask. If you’re not a business student, all students at Ryerson have access to similar resumé, cover letter and interview support through the Career and Co-op Centre.
5. Trust your gut
The most important thing to remember while looking for a co-op is to trust your intuition. Not every position may be for you and that’s alright. It’s best to apply to a large number of positions to ensure you land something, but that doesn’t mean applying for positions that don’t feel right for you. Apply for positions that spark joy, but also ones that may not be the most exciting, but would be a great learning opportunity and put you on the path to landing jobs that excite you during your next (co-op) job hunt.
I hope these tips help you land a co-op position you’re passionate about!