Meet Roufa Sadek, a second-year Bachelor of Commerce Co-op student majoring in International Business. Roufa says that the ability to apply her learning in the workplace was a major consideration for her when choosing a university, which is why the Commerce Co-op program was a major selling point for Dalhousie. “While I prioritize classroom learning, I also emphasize its practical application, making Dalhousie’s co-op program particularly appealing.”
Roufa is currently on her first co-op as a Market and Trade Assistant with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a government agency focused on balancing sustainability and economic growth in Canada’s agricultural sector. Currently, Roufa is tasked with researching profiles of farmers in Nova Scotia. She has also been assigned with crafting statistical reports regarding Nova Scotia’s exports, something that is very compelling to her. “Understanding the significance of exports in theory is one thing, but witnessing their impact firsthand enriches my knowledge in profound ways. This aspect is particularly fascinating to me because, among various courses, economics stood out to me and played a significant role in my decision to pursue studying Commerce. Additionally, even before applying for co-op, I harboured a strong desire to secure a co-op within the government.”
Throughout the rest of her co-op, Roufa is eager to continue to apply her classroom knowledge to her work and real-world experiences. “It’s one thing to learn concepts within the confines of a lecture hall, but the opportunity to see these theories come to life in practical settings is an entirely new and exhilarating experience.” Roufa says that it is important to her that she contributes to meaningful projects, motivated by the feeling of being able to make an impact on her organization. “The opportunity to make an impact, whether it’s through problem-solving or collaborating with colleagues brings a sense of purpose to the work. Additionally, the supportive and dynamic environment encourages continuous growth and learning, making each day both challenging and rewarding. Overall, it’s the combination of meaningful work, collaborative spirit, and ongoing development opportunities that makes this job experience truly enjoyable for me.”
Throughout her job search, Roufa remained adaptable by gathering and applying feedback on her approach. Initially, she decided to use a volume-based approach when applying to co-op positions. “I would browse through myCareer, but when it came to actually applying, I didn’t invest the effort into tailoring my resume or cover letter. Instead, I focused more on quantity rather than quality, aiming to send out as many applications as possible,” she says. “I soon realized the importance of putting thought and time into each application. As I began to apply more strategically, considering how my skills and experiences aligned with each position, I saw a significant improvement.”
With support from her Career and Recruitment Specialist at MCS, Roufa continued to improve her resume and interview skills. “I can’t tell you how many rejections I received, and now looking back at it, I think that was my favourite experience of the whole co-op search, because it made me grow as a person. Every rejection taught me to go back and meet with my Career and Recruitment Specialist, Nishka Rajesh, and improve my resume and cover letter. Then the next rejection was figuring out what else needed improvement, like my interview skills. And so on, until I secured a co-op.” Ultimately, Roufa secured a position that has proven to be fulfilling and challenging.
Here is Roufa’s advice for you:
- Every interaction presents an opportunity for connection. Remember, networking knows no bounds; your next opportunity could be just a conversation away.
- Always be open to learning, you can never know enough.
- Your pen is your strongest weapon. Use your pen and understand yourself. What qualities do you believe you possess that can help with your co-op search? You need to understand yourself and identify your skills to really excel.