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Advice from the Centre for Career and Personal Development during the co-op season

By Julianna Keskic, January 22 2024— 

Internship and co-op season has begun for many students here at the University of Calgary. During this often hectic time of juggling academics and job searches, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

In his interview with the Gauntlet, Career and Digital Resource specialist Harrison Yeung from the Centre for Career and Personal Development (CCPD) at the University of Calgary discusses resources available to students as well as providing advice for students on how to find success this internship and co-op season. 

The CCPD is a resource to begin building skills that can set you apart from others during this internship co-op process. 

“The CCPD offers workshops that are broken down into four main categories, those being resumes and cover letters, interviews, the overall job search and your overall LinkedIn presence,” said Yeung.

Getting started can be daunting for anyone looking for an internship placement. Harrison breaks down the foundations of success into two categories. 

“First, start early – don’t wait until the end of the semester. As of September employers have begun looking for people already,” said Yeung. “Second, being prepared for the positions you want to apply for is essential.”  

Yeung breaks down how to be prepared into a further two sections, those being resumes and interviews. 

He explains how customizing your resume increases one’s chance of landing a position. 

“When preparing resumes, applicants may try to save time through a one-size-fits-all resume. The main thing to help an applicant set themselves apart from anybody else is that they are targeting their resume to the roles that they are applying to,” said Yeung. 

In terms of being prepared for interviews, the CCPD offers opportunities for students to practice through mock interviews. There is also the opportunity to attend many different workshops that target specific aspects of the job search process. 

“We have got the workshops for resumes and interviews, but when it comes down to just practicing, set up an appointment with the CCPD. We could do it in a drop-in, but it’s never enough time for a full mock interview. So the best way is to set up an appointment with us,” Yeung explained. 

Finding someone to answer the inevitable questions that come up during the internship search process can be confusing. The CCPD is a great place to find answers to many job and career-related inquiries. He tells students to first begin at their faculty office for more specific information about internships, but the CCPD is there to provide general information and resources.

“When it comes down to Co-op and Internships some faculties have their own career centre too, and their own Co-op and Internship office as well. If they are part of their faculty Co-op program, then that particular faculty’s Co-op program and that specific career centre should be their first start,” said Yeung.

Another branch of the CCPD is the Life Design Hub; these workshops are about overall career planning. These workshops help you tackle the common questions surrounding your degree.

“Reach out to your academic and program advisors, have a discussion around how to configure your semester to support your goals,” said Yeung. 

“If a student is going to be applying to a specific field or type of position, then crafting a select few resumes geared to that specific field and altering them for each application may be a solution, rather than reinventing the wheel each time you apply,” Yeung continued. 

One of the leadership programs offered by the CCPD are microplacements that are provided through the university as well as some employers. 

“Microplacements are an opportunity that the CCPD provides that can build a students collaborative work skills. What these mircoplacements are all about is giving students the opportunity to work on a project and gain collaborative experience.” continued Yeung.

In his concluding remarks, Yeung encourages students to take advantage of the resources that CCPD provides.

“Aside from that, use the university as a resource. We have all these excellent opportunities for students, but a lot of the time they just don’t know about it,” said Yeung. “Don’t be a stranger, come into the CCPD office if you have questions because we are always here to help out.”

This time of internship applications and searching for co-op placements can be a lot to take in but know that the University of Calgary offers resources to help you along your journey and support you in successfully finding your way. 

More information on the CCPD can be found on the U of C website.

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