If Jia can do it, so can you

Remember Jia Jang? He went on a quest to be rejected 100 times to overcome his fear of it. If you haven’t yet, watch his video. Yeah, we’re in awe, too.

Asking questions is the same thing. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become with it. And in no time you’ll be a pro. With a network of people around you that are eager to help.

Here’s a great (real world) example:

Hello my name is Adam Smith.

I was wondering if someone could give me advice on whether there are certain benefits between choosing a co-op or an internship. I currently have an internship with a local engineering firm in the city I live in, and I have already spent a summer with them. They also have asked me to return this upcoming summer as well. I intend on returning to work for them this summer, but:

Should I consider looking into co-ops in the future?

Or is it a better resume point to have more experience with a single company?

I would enjoy returning to my internship next year but I am also open to new opportunities.

Thank you in advance.


[Contact info]

Here are the (again, real world) replies Adam received from alumni.

Alum A

A co-op will often lead to a full time position after graduating. In fact, some companies hire exclusively from their co-op pool. If you enjoy working at this company though, I’d suggest at least looking at a few other places. The worst that can happen is you get offered an internship somewhere else and you decline it.

Alum B

Adam, thank you for your question. It was a question that I also was torn about when I was at [institution]. In my opinion a co-op is tremendously more valuable than an internship. I view an internship as a tester. It allows you to test the water in a field and see if it is a fit for you. A co-op is an experience that will allow you to truly learn and build on your education. My personal co-op experience left me feeling as I was a full time employee at [company]. My responsibilities and projects were no different than a young full time engineer. At my current employer, we also allow our co-op’s to get an in-depth look at projects from start to end. We strongly prefer (almost require) a co-op for all our new hires.

Alum C

Ultimately, this is a personal preference, and only you can answer what is right for you, but I will provide my experience and opinion. I interned with one company and co-oped with another. This provided me with a wider variety of cultural and type of work experiences to draw from as you make career decisions. This will help you define what you enjoy and what you do not enjoy. It also provides more industry contacts as you begin the full-time job search. I ended up full-time (and still am) with the company I co-oped. Overall, experience in any engineering arena is valuable, so I don’t think you can make a wrong decision.

Right there are three awesome prospective new contacts for your network that provided fantastic advice (by the way, there’s no perfect answer – ever).

Your job is now to reach out to each and everyone of them to (a) thank them for their help and (b) ask / offer to follow up after you’ve acted on the advice. Courtesy and engagement are the “price of admission” because you represent your community and future students that will need engaged alumni to build their network.

Let’s do this. Ask now.