Gain Hands-on Experience
No matter how long you study and how great your teachers and resources are, there is only so much you can learn in school. Would you trust a surgeon who had never operated on anyone before? A co-op work experience gives you opportunities to put into practice the theory you have learned. It is one thing to read about handling difficult customers: it’s quite another to answer with a smile when a belligerent customer insists she be given a full refund despite the fact that her receipt clearly states her purchase was a final sale.
During a co-op work experience, you get a chance to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and grow as an employee. Your supervisor understands that you are still learning and so will offer you support on your journey. The expectations are different than they might be in a non-co-op placement.
Get Great Answers for Dreaded Interview Questions
Almost every job interview I have been to has, at some point, included the question, “tell me about a time you…?” The end of that question can be anything from “demonstrated leadership abilities” to “delivered exceptional customer service.” Whatever the job, employers want to know that you have the qualities they are looking for and usually they won’t just take your word for it. They want examples.
If you haven’t worked before, it can difficult to prove you have what it takes. A co-op experience is full of exciting challenges that put your abilities to the test and give you countless opportunities to showcase your abilities. Next time you get asked a “tell me about a time you…” question in an interview, you will have several stories to choose from.
Co-op placements give you Canadian work experience. If you are an international student, having Canadian work experience on your resume will help you stand out from the crowd.
First of all, it will immediately demonstrate to prospective employers that you have a high level of English. In almost every field, this is a huge asset.
Secondly, Canadian work experience demonstrates that you have probably worked in a multicultural setting with clients and customers from a variety of cultures. This means you are an effective cross cultural communicator. In an increasingly globalized world, this is a skill many employers seek.
Make Connections and Gain References
One of the best ways to land a dream job is through your network. When you do a co-op placement, you’re gaining a network. Many businesses have overseas branches. Someone you work with might pass on your name to supervisors at other locations. Even if that’s not possible, social networking sites like LinkedIn mean that one connection from your current job can open all kinds of other doors. If you impress the people you work with, you will also gain a list of references. A glowing reference can be the final touch that gets you the job when the competition is fierce.
Experience Canadian Culture and Have Fun
A lot of international students complain that they find it challenging to make friends with locals. Your co-op work experience is an excellent opportunity to make Canadian friends. Companies often offer social events outside of work hours.
If you have the right attitude, your co-op placement can be a lot of fun. We hope to see you here and help set you on the journey toward your exciting career.
For more information about the co-op program and for personal testimonials, check out the video below.