How To Be Successful on Co-op

Follow these tips to be successful while on co-op. Your goals while on co-op should be to sharpen your skills, define your career goals, and build professional connections. If you are ever unsure of how to handle a situation at work, reach out to your Co-op & Career Advisor for support. 

Your Co-op is an Extended Interview

  • Employers are interested in your work ethic, time management, and ability to ask questions when needed. If you do well, they may consider hiring you back for another co-op or a full-time job. 
  • Assess the company while working there. Is the culture one in which you would thrive long-term?
  • If time allows, ask to meet with members of other teams to expand your network and explore the company.  

Beginning of Your Co-op

  • Show up on time, if not early! This is expected and shows commitment to the position.
  • Dress business casual for the first week or so. Over time you can dress for the environment – take cues from other co-workers about what is appropriate. 
  • Take notes: use a notebook instead of your phone. Limit personal cell phone use to lunch breaks.
  • Ask your supervisor how best to communicate with them: Will you have weekly meetings? Should you email/message them with daily questions? What should you do if you are sick? 
  • Do you need workplace accommodations? Speak to your company’s Human Resources department or ask your Co-op & Career Advisor for support. 

During Your Co-op 

  • BE ON TIME.  Stay until the end of your shift. Notify your supervisor promptly if you’re running late or unable to attend work due to illness.
  • Take initiative. When your work is finished, ask if you can help others or request more work from your supervisor. 
  • Be honest and upfront if you make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Proofread all communication to members of the company before sending. Be aware of CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy) functions on email. 
  • No sleeping at work! Remain engaged with work-related tasks and stay off your phone. Adhere to company policies.

End of Co-op

  • Thank your supervisor and colleagues for the co-op experience. 
  • Ask if your supervisor would be willing to serve as a reference for future employment. 
  • Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn and ask mentors to write recommendations. 
  • Review and update your resume.
  • Remind your supervisor to review your performance and complete the WITworks supervisor evaluation.
  • To pass co-op, you must have a completed self-evaluation and supervisor evaluation in WITworks.

Socializing with Colleagues:

What should you do if invited to a social event where alcohol is served?

  • Are you under 21 years old?
    • Underage drinking is illegal. Don’t break the law, even if your colleagues offer you a drink.
    • Attend the event and drink a non-alcoholic beverage. Use the event as an opportunity to network.
  • Are you 21 or older?
    • Avoid or minimize alcohol consumption at work related events. Focus on presenting yourself well. 
    • If everyone orders water or soda, it is not appropriate to order alcohol.