Nicole Vander Doelen is originally from Newmarket Ontario and is entering her third year of the Bachelor of Commerce Program.
Nicole took a year off of high school to make sure that she was making the right decision when it came to what school and program she wanted to attend. She mentioned that Dalhousie was always on her list because of the co-op program and past family members have also attended the school.
For Nicole’s first work term, she worked at RBC Technology and Operations, out of the Bedford office as a Business Analyst and Project Coordinator on the transformation and strategic initiatives team. While searching for her first work term, Nicole had her sights on a finance position. Her approach to securing her first position did not go unseen.
“I was set on getting a job with one of the big banks. I went to countless networking events and applied to over 30+ jobs on myCareer.” She said, adding “I ended up securing a co-op with RBC through reaching out to people in my network. I did apply through myCareer but truly secured the interview by speaking with RBC talent recruiters.”
Nicole noted that she did have some challenges with her first work term, but persevered and ended up really enjoying things. “The position was not what I had expected. I got so caught up in just securing a job with a big bank I misunderstood the position. It was not as finance focused as I had thought, but I ended up working on an amazing energetic team that allowed me to network within the bank. I was able to gain some insight and understanding into private banking, wealth management, and capital markets.”
Overall, Nicole added “The position gave me the information I needed to make the decision that I did not want to be a finance major,” a valuable insight into her career path afforded to work-integrated learning students.
Following her first co-op position, Nicole made some changes to her job search approach. She discussed what changed her approach and, “with the help of the academic report for the co-op work term, I was able to work through and decide what kind of position I truly wanted post grad. I was able to figure out that a major in marketing would make the most sense as I am mostly interested in selling, pitching, and content creation as I love to talk and be creative. So, I found myself very interested in brand management and advertising management. From there I spoke with recent Dal marketing grads and found that securing a co-op that will supply me with experience in digital marketing and brand management would be an asset.”
When working to find her fall 2020 work term, Nicole said that the ongoing pandemic added some pressure and caused her to become creative when it came to secure her co-op position. Through her job searched, Nicole found Venture for Canada, an online portal that can help students find work terms. She mentioned that this platform changed her application process and provided her with lots of support.
Nicole said that Venture for Canada was very easy to use. She just had to send in a quick application and after 3 days of them reviewing it, they accepted her and gave her full access to their job board. They also sent her resume directly to employers they thought she would be a good fit for. Before she even looked at the job posts she already had an email from a potential employer asking her to send them a cover letter as they were intrigued by her resume. She applied to 6 positions and heard back from all of them.
Venture for Canada called her after she accepted and informed her that their support doesn’t end there and they actually will be giving her access to their online library in September. Their online library includes free courses and webinars on a variety of subjects including brand management and web development which are both two of her interests. The best part of Venture for Canada is that all the positions posted on there are Canadian start-ups. After securing her co-op she talked to some friends who work in full time marketing positions and found out they actually secured their jobs post grad through Venture for Canada. Nicole added “I think it is a great asset for students looking for real experience and to get their hands dirty, all while supporting local Canadian start-ups.”
Nicole’s Fall position is a communication and marketing associate position with GetintheLoop. She mentioned that she could not be happier with her placement and is enjoying it after her first couple of weeks.
Nicole’s Advice for Students entering the recruitment process for co-op:
- Know what you want. If you cannot explain your ideal co-op, then you won’t be able to find it.
- MCS is there to help and provide positing but only you can put in that extra step to finding your ideal co-op position.
- I highly recommend VFC for any student looking for a co-op, even if you don’t find one on VFC it’s a great network to have access to.
Follow Nicole on LinkedIn!
Check out MCS’s article about finding self-developed jobs through programs like Venture for Canada here.
*Please note, Venture for Canada is a program of the Government of Canada and supports Canadian students and permanent residents.