“I’m going on co-op!” - is such a common phrase on campus because of our career focus. For my program though, the phrase was not uttered too much. Not because we couldn’t find co-ops but the School of Individualized Study does not require it.
For me, I wanted to go on co-op and when I told my advisor she fully supported me. I started looking for co-ops in my sophomore year. It wasn’t easy for multiple reasons. One of the big ones is I didn’t have a great resume. The last time I had updated my resume was in high school and it looked rough. If you are looking for help in writing your resume the Co-op & Career services office can help you or you can ask your professors to read through your resume. I ended up working with two professors to rewrite my resume until I was happy with it.
I drafted up a LinkedIn profile as it was recommended, practiced my elevator speech and then headed off to the bi-annual career fair. I talked with 10 companies ranging from baby food to printing services. Some of those introductions were awkward but I learned from them.
I didn’t end up getting a co-op from the career fair but from a professor. One of the great things about RIT is the connections that the professors have. My Advertising professor actually knew a few small marketing agencies that were looking to hire and that was how I landed my first co-op. I loved it for the four months I was working but it didn’t fit what I thought the job would entail. I started looking around again this time I focused on Rochester based companies and applied to their internship programs. I was lucky enough to secure another co-op this time in human resources.
Having that work experience added to my resume was awesome! Because not only could I say yes that was my field of study, but also back it up with work experience. What I’m getting at is even if your program doesn’t require a co-op or internship, do one anyway! RIT has such a strong name in the New York area that it is possible for anyone to get an work experience. I strongly encourage it because without my first co-op I wouldn’t have realized that marketing isn’t the best fit for me.