Have you been wondering whether you should enroll in a co-op program in high school to explore what your future career should be? With an endless list of benefits related to academic and “real world” skill development, a co-op program is definitely worthwhile. If you are curious about it, make an appointment with your guidance counselor for more information and to find out if it will be a good fit for you. Whether you dream of being a doctor, artist or researcher, co-op can help you on your road to self-discovery. Co-op is all about exploration and employers appear to value it as much as students. Surveys have found that employers of graduates across most sectors value co-op experience highly, so you really can’t go wrong. Here are a few reasons why we tout the co-op experience.
Grow Your Network
Immersing yourself into the world of work while studying means you can gain industry contacts—meet and network with professionals in your specific area of interest. You’ll be able to ask them questions about your dream job to get a real feel for what it’s all about. There will be opportunities for you to get involved in chats and mentoring, you may learn how to leverage social media for networking and more. You might get to participate in employer-focused events such as mock interviews, industry events, and galas. You’ll learn about companies in your chosen field, and where you might fit within a certain organization down the road. These experiences can help put you on the right track to chase your dreams.
Test Out Career Paths
Find out more about whether a certain sector or company is right for you. As a co-op student, you could gain experience in different industries, sectors, and roles. As you progress through your co-op term, your levels of responsibility will increase and your career objectives might expand. Co-op could help you decide whether your chosen career path aligns with your interests.
Gain Real-World Experience
A co-op placement can give you real experience of what the workplace is like. If you’re aware of the career path you want, co-op can help you figure out whether or not the industry in question is for you.
Learn Transferable Skills and Build Your Resume
It’s not all fun and games. During your co-op placement, your organization will expect you to get involved like a real employee. Try your best and work hard; you’ll be able to add new skills to your résumé and you will impress future employers with your knowledge and skills. Professional references are valued by employers, giving you a leg up down the road.
Learn Leadership Skills
You’ll have the opportunity to work with industry leaders and in turn how to become a leader yourself in industry sectors such as government, private and non-profit.
Increase Your Chances of Landing a Job
If you do an excellent job for co-op employer, you might be offered a paid position, either once you complete your studies or sooner. This is not necessarily the outcome for every student, so don’t be discouraged if it’s not your experience. Regardless, you will develop a wide range of skills and you will gain invaluable experience. The experience could potentially help you when applying for a summer job or a part-time job during the school year.
As you can see, there are many reasons to consider a co-op placement. It’s yours to discover!