5 Tips to Survive Co-op Applications: Advice from Fourth-Years Who’ve Been There

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Tatiana Morand
Communications Assistant
Fri, 10/27/2017 - 14:15

Your first round of co-op applications can be a scary time, especially if you end up in the continuous round. To help you survive it, we’ve compiled some advice from upper-year students who’ve been there.

Co-op interviewsKeep checking back for jobs

“Check WaterlooWorks regularly - there are new postings every day,” said Chaitanya Khanna, fourth-year Electrical and Computing Engineering major.

This may seem like a basic tip, but it’s an important one. Don’t forget that different jobs will be posted that are open for different amounts of time every day—that way you’re sure to see if the job of your dreams pops up. 

Differentiate yourself

There’s no point in sending the same generic cover letter to 50 companies — recruiters can smell that from a mile away. When writing a cover letter or talking to an interviewer, keep in mind what it is that you really bring to the job that’s different than other candidates.

“Exchange seemed to get people excited in interviews when I talked about it,” said Robyn Peers, a fourth-year Rhetoric & Business major.  

Any experience that makes you memorable, or gave you some kind of competitive advantage, is important to share.

Your career progression might not always take the form you expect—and that’s okay

“Your job search might not go the way you intended, but that can lead to unexpectedly pleasant outcomes,” said Kassy Oliveira, fourth-year Chemistry major.

Don’t be afraid to look at jobs that you might initially have dismissed or aren’t sure are relevant — you might end up with something you enjoyed more than you thought.

This can also include looking for jobs outside WaterlooWorks, or reaching out to people you know personally for help finding something.

Time management is key

Although it can be stressful to concentrate on interviews on top of all your classes, re-framing the way you think about it can help.

"Think about it like another class,” says Sabah Khokhar, fourth-year Philosophy major. “Delegate time to it and do your research."

By devoting specific time in your day to co-op applications (and by treating interviews like a midterm you have to study for) you’ll be able to better direct your efforts and plan time for them between other commitments.

Having the most interviews isn’t always a good thing

Rather than filling the quota of 50 jobs, or just randomly applying, being strategic in your job search is more likely to lead to success.

“In my experience, it’s best to be focused with your search and pick positions that you really want and know you have at least 60 per cent of the skills for,” said Peers.

It also means you won’t end up with a ton of interviews for jobs you didn’t really want in the first place, and will ultimately be more satisfied with the job you end up with.