At FDM Group, we are always keen to introduce students to a professional working environment. Our global offices offer a variety of internships and placements all-year round in various areas of the business. Disha Shah is the latest addition to the FDM Toronto team as their new Marketing Intern. Currently in her third year at the University of Waterloo, Disha is studying psychology and business.
When I first began my degree, I did not realise the difference that a co-operative education programme would make in my life. Enrolling in a co-operative (co-op) education programme in college or university is one of the best decisions I believe you can make as a student. Co-op programmes allow students to combine their post-secondary education with practical work experience. What differentiates co-ops from internships is that co-op terms are longer in duration, which allows for the allocation of more responsibilities and the chance to work on more projects. This gives students an opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of their field of study. FDM offers a variety of co-op and internship opportunities in various business specialities including Finance, Sales, HR, Marketing, Recruitment and more. The dynamic working environment allows students to learn in-demand skills while expanding their professional network. Aside from the obvious benefits of co-op such as gaining valuable work experience, enhancing your resume and being paid, there are numerous other benefits.
- Interview Practice: It is critical to learn how to behave, dress, and answer questions during interviews. Interview skills are what will make you stand out in comparison to the other applicants. If you got the interview, the company already knows you are qualified for the job, it is the soft skills that will give you a competitive edge. These skills can only be strengthened by interview practice. While looking for co-op placements, you will be interviewed by several companies each term. By the time you land a job, you will have already learned from your past interview mistakes and will know how to build on these skills for future interviews. With practice, I can now confidently say that my interview skills are what has differentiated me from my peers. I have learned that it is important to research the company prior to the interview and to practice the answers to basic interview questions. It is also important to give examples when talking about your experience and skills.
- Soft skills: Even if you do not land your dream job on your first or second co-op term, there are many other skills you can gain from simply being exposed to a new working environment. My first job was as an Administrative Associate after high school. I did not realise it then, but I gained a lot of skills through that role such as interpersonal, organisational, and communication skills. As a result, I learned how to interact with different types of people and how to step out of my comfort zone. I find it easier socialise with my coworkers, manage my time, and ask for help at FDM due to my prior experience. FDM’s dynamic and fast-paced working environment provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain these transferable skills.
- Career Goals: Another huge benefit of co-op programmes is that they help students decide if the career path that they have chosen is right for them. I used to be an Accounting major and spent my first co-op term working as a Tax Accountant. This experience, although enriching, helped me realise that Accounting was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After starting my second co-op term at FDM, I determined that my passion lies in creative fields such as Marketing. I used to hate waking up early for work, now I do not mind it because I am excited to see what the new day brings.
- Networking Opportunities: In a co-op programme, you will get the chance to work with a few companies before you graduate which gives you the opportunity to build a professional network. Networking with professionals in your field gives you the chance to ask questions and learn more about your future career options. Additionally, if you make a good impression during your work term, you may even be offered a full-time position after graduation. By meeting more professionals in your field, you can grow your LinkedIn network which can help you learn about future employment opportunities and stay up-to-date on industry news.
Overall, enrolling in a co-op programme is an investment in your future and offers several key advantages such as work experience, interview skills, building soft skills, an opportunity to apply your knowledge, and networking opportunities. Additionally, the extra money earned during your co-op terms is always helpful when paying for tuition or school supplies. It may even eliminate the need to get a part-time job during school which can allow you to focus more on your studies. Enrolling in a co-op programme is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. From event-planning to building analytical reports, co-op students and interns at FDM are involved in many areas of the business and do important work to help the business thrive and grow.
If you are interested in growing your career with FDM as a co-op student, intern or consultant, check out the current opportunities available here
Read more Careers Advice guides from our blog:
- Why We Understand Career Transitions
- World of Work Day: Leeds City Academy