Am I Good Enough to Make It? – Overcoming the Feelings of Inadequacy in the Co-op Process

Andrew McBurney - VP Academic
Posted on: March 10, 2017

Hey engineering students! I hope the term has been progressing well since I last wrote you.

I wanted to say briefly that for this edition, my IW article is geared more towards first year engineering students. That being said, I feel the implications of this article are valuable to all engineering students. Without further ado, I’ll jump right in.

We recently finished the ‘Main-Matching’ period of the co-op process. To recap, this is the period of time after the main interviewing stage where you see what employers ranked you on WaterlooWorks, and you rank them. After this ranking period transpires, WaterlooWorks runs a matching algorithm to determine what companies students will be matched with. After the ‘Main-Matching’ process, some of you will be matched with employers – but a large portion of students (especially first years) will not have jobs yet. To those students who’ve gotten jobs – I’d like to extend my congratulations to you. If you’re in first year, you’re past one of the biggest hurdles of co-op in my opinion: landing the first job.

However, to the majority of first year students who are still looking for work (I’ll say from experience): it’s easy to think less of yourself for not having a job at this stage of the process. It’s easy to look at other people’s job success and compare yourself with them. It’s easy to let these things affect your self-esteem. Here’s my advice for you: don’t.

When I was in 1B looking for my first co-op job, I didn’t land my first interview until two weeks into the continuous round. I didn’t have any interviews in the main round. I didn’t get ranked by any companies. I didn’t rank any companies. By the time I received my first interview, I had applied to over 100 jobs. It wasn’t until after final exams (a week into the Spring term) that I landed my first co-op job.

So, if you’re a first year student who is still looking for work – here’s my advice to you: don’t be discouraged. Keep applying to jobs, keep refining your résumé, and keep being persistent. There are services that exist to help you in the job hunt process. If you’re looking to get your résumé critiqued during the continuous round, EngSoc will be holding another Résumé Critique workshop in the immediate future (stay tuned for an update on our Facebook page). Furthermore, we have resources available on our website (https://www.engsoc.uwaterloo.ca) for résumé writing (such as templates and general tips), as well as an online résumé critique service called ‘résumé rescue’.

As always, I wish you all the best in your studies, and the co-op process. If you ever need to talk to me about anything, you can reach me at vpacademic.b@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca, or find me in the Orifice (CPH 1327).

Hang in there fam. Peace.