While on a co-op placement, you have the opportunity to earn money and learn job-readiness skills in a real work environment.
It is not just about earning cash though. While on the job, you should strive to get the most out of this opportunity. To help you, we created a list of tips on how you can get the most out of your co-op experience.
Here's how to ace your co-op
- Be eager to learn – (as opposed to eager to earn). Your co-op job is not about just making the money – it is also about what you can learn from the experience. Be willing to contribute to the organization by providing ideas, contributing at meetings, volunteering at events for the organization. Make yourself memorable to the employer by being reliable, committed and motivated to learn new things.
- Set goals – spend some time to think about what you want to achieve by the end of your co-op. Write down some learning outcomes and what you hope to gain. What do you hope to take away your co-op experience?
- Build positive and productive relationships with your employers and co-workers. Look for mentorship opportunities, seek out people who will freely and willingly give career advice and help you with your goals.
- Look for ways to apply what you have learned at your co-op job to your academic studies when you return to college and how you can use the experience when you start your career upon graduation.
- Don't always look for the highest-paying co-op job. The not-for-profits can't pay as much but may offer the best co-op experience.
- Take time to reflect upon your experience. Reflection deepens your understanding, enhances your professional growth and promotes critical thinking.
In the end, it is up to you how much you will get out of your co-op experience so work hard, ask questions and have a positive attitude. Many employers hire co-op students as a way to identify, train and groom future permanent employees. Look at your co-op job is an opportunity to make a lasting impression and maybe have a fantastic job already lined up when you graduate!
With 52 co-op programs ranging from Fashion Design to Civil Engineering, Fanshawe is a leader among co-operative education at the college level in Canada. If you're interested in co-op programs, check out our full list of programs here.