Marieta’s post, Apply, Interview, Rank, Repeat, is a great post on what the co-op job hunting process is like. Everyone has their own personal experience with the job hunting process though, so I thought I would share what my experience was like with this first co-op term.
Job hunting is stressful, to say the least. While you’re drowning in school work, you’re expected to carry the weight of having to find a co-op job on your back. It’s tough. Reality is, as a first-year student you’re going to run into more challenges with the job hunt than upper-year students. Experience is important and it’s something that comes with time. When I say experience, I’m talking about all sorts of experiences from work experience to experience in your career field. What kind of knowledge do you have in this specific area? How about that area? It is perfectly okay to not know many things and you have to accept yourself for this lack of experience and knowledge.
To keep things simple, you need to know that there are two rounds. There is the first round where you apply within a week and then afterwards, applications are closed and the interview process happens. Typically, this is where a good chunk of the upper-year students and a lucky bunch of first-years get hired. Afterwards, there is the continuous round which is where new jobs get posted daily and you can apply to as many jobs as you want.
I got two interviews in the first round, and was ranked for both. I had an interview with Curtiss-Wright for their Controls Defense Solutions sector, and Skywave Mobile Communications. I was ranked for both and didn’t end up with either jobs. I was disappointed.
In the continuous round, I ended up getting a few interviews in November and then I was scheduled for seven interviews during the two weeks of exams. I ended up with four interviews in one day hours before my ECE105 exam but when rankings came out, I received two offers and I accepted the one for General Dynamics. Between the start of the continuous round and my wave of interviews though, I had to apply to about 150 jobs both on Jobmine and outside of Jobmine. I started sending my resume to companies and received either no responses or a rejection from these companies. It was incredibly disappointing to see new emails popping up each day saying that the company is not interested in hiring you or they have already selected someone else. That’s hard when the end of the semester creeps up and you’re still unemployed.
So for me, it took hundreds of applications to receive thirteen interviews, eight of which I attended. What I guess I’m trying to say is, don’t ever give up even though it can be incredibly tough. Co-op may seem like a very positive thing but it’s not always easy to get and you should never feel bad about not having a job for the first couple terms.
If you’re looking for co-op right now, good luck! Let me know if I can give you any sort of tips or suggestions. :)
1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo