Co-op Tips from SFU’s Beedie School of Business


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Spring is here and there’s no better time to get the latest news from universities across the country. Students: Read this month’s blog posts to see what universities across the country has been up to and how to maximize your career centers!

Unlocking the Co-op Formula:

golden egg

Thinking about applying for a Co-op position? Don’t know what to expect or to even get started?

Read below for the latest tips direct from the experts at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. We spoke with Shauna Tonsaker, Program Director of the SFU Beedie Co-op Program.

Student Tips for Applying to Co-Ops:

“Particularly for co-op positions, companies are hiring for attitude and fit within their corporate culture.” – Shauna Tonsaker

How does the Co-op program at Beedie work?

“Undergraduate students alternate academic semesters with work semesters to graduate with either a certificate (3 terms) or degree designation (4 terms). Once they join our program, students go through extensive curriculum from courses on skills transfer, creation & proper use of job application tools to setting objectives and written reflection on their learning while on a work term. ”

What is the most common mistake students make when applying to Co-op work terms?

Sometimes students don’t apply to jobs as they feel they don’t meet all the qualifications listed in the job description. It’s important for students to understand that the list is the ideal of what an employer would prefer within the position.

If students feel they have 3-4 of the skills listed and are excited about the position as well as the company they should apply.

Particularly for co-op positions, companies are hiring for attitude and fit within their corporate culture. They expect that students won’t have all the skills and appreciate that they will be able to provide training to their co-op hires.”

What are your top 3 tips for students that want to apply to Co-op?

1.Be open to applying to many different jobs, companies – have a broad minded approach

2.Know what you have to offer, be confident but also understand you still have so much to learn – embrace a positive attitude and have a willingness to learn

3.Understand yourself – know your values & career goals. Think about what type of organization you would like to work in. Is it a small to medium sized business you can growth with? A company with a diversity of roles that could cover marketing, accounting, sales, HR? Do you want to be entrepreneurial? Want something in government with structured positions. internal career options, and stability? A large multinational with global opportunities? Or are you passionate about an industry or a social issue and would like to work for a not-for-profit?”

Knowing what motivates you helps to apply to the right roles.

Companies & Co-Op Hiring:

What are the advantages for companies / employers in hiring a Co-op student?

“Beedie Co-op students bring so much to the workplace. Their skills, academic knowledge, understanding of working effectively within teams, leadership, but most of all a great attitude and a willingness to learn.

Students on a co-op work term with an employer are registered in a business practicum course and are motivated to learn and be productive. Many of our students are fluent in multiple languages and understand cultural diversity.

Employers are getting students that are eager to be there with a positive, professional attitude who want to work hard to be productive for the company. They are connecting with an emerging talent pool that will supply their longer term recruitment needs after graduation.

There is also the advantage of working with our Co-op program of the support of our staff for consultation and employment problem solving.”

How can a company get involved in the SFU Beedie Coop program?

Contact any one of our Beedie Co-op staff for more information. The first step to hire a student is to send us a job description.

Our full requirements are listed on our website

This Is The Real Deal

The SFU Beedie Co-op Program has had many success stories. Recently, 4th year Sterling Testini was featured in the student Business Student Association (BASS) publication “The Executive”.

Sterling has had 2 Co-op placements, the 1st one as a Media and Public Relations Manager for the City of Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) through Dillon Consulting. His 2nd placement was At Accenture as a Market Analyst.

Check out the latest BASS here to learn more about his personal experience that demonstrates the success of many co-op students.

Students: We’d Love To Know…

  • Why have you chosen to apply to a co-op program?
  • Looking back, what do you wish you could have known?
  • For those applying now, what other tips do you want?
  • If you can experience a Co-op work term with ANY company, who would it be and why?
  • Grace Lanuza
    Grace’s 10+ years in the ever-changing world of experiential marketing taught her the importance of having the right team in the right roles. Expanding her passion for people, Grace recently grew her career in the talent acquisition and employment branding space managing campus recruiting across North America for Mosaic, a top marketing agency. You can expect Grace’s unique voice to be found blogging about Gen Y hiring, motivating your team, interviewing tips and tricks, and best practices to keep remote employees engaged.

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