We of all people know how hard it is to find a great job or internship in college, especially when you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life and make money at the same time.
The good news is, there’s another job option you might not be looking at that’ll give you that exposure, help you build serious industry connections, and pay you those dollar bills: Co-ops.
What are co-ops, what do they actually entail, and where can you find one? We’ve got the answers to all of your questions, and they just might end with you landing a role at Unilever, the company behind brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, and Axe (because hint: They’re hiring for their co-op programs now!).
What’s a Co-op? How Is It Different From an Internship?
While co-ops (short for “cooperative education programs”) and internships are both valuable experiences for students, there are a couple of major differences:
- Co-ops generally tend to be longer than internships (many are six to 12 months in length), and participants will even relocate in lots of cases.
- Co-ops typically have stricter time requirements, whereas most school year internships fit into student schedules. Some co-ops even require a full-time schedule.
- Co-ops are almost always paid (gotta love that!).
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you ask us.
Why Should I Join One?
Why opt for a co-op and not just a series of internships? For one thing, because you’re working more hours for a longer period of time, you have the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities and build stronger relationships with your co-workers, bosses, and higher-ups.
Additionally, co-ops offer the ability for students to get a much more intense crash course into a particular industry or job, which is important when you’re figuring out how to start your career on the right foot.
What Does Work Look Like in a Co-op?
At this point, you’re probably wondering: What could your time in a co-op entail? We’ve got answers.
For example, if you’re part of Unilever’s six-month R&D Packaging Co-op, you get to do a deep-dive into the latest packaging technologies, create specialized timelines and tracking reports, and present ideas on cost-saving measures and innovations to higher-ups. Where else can you become an expert and tell big-name leaders how to make products better?
Or, if you’re in Unilever’s six-month Design Packaging Co-op, you’ll be tasked with creating and managing powerful agency relationships, helping with every stage of the design process from sketches to mockups, and doing research and tests to create the most effective designs possible. Even better, because you’ll be part of the program for six months, you have the opportunity to make powerful connections that’ll last long after you complete the co-op.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want the chance to work on projects for longer periods of time, build long-lasting relationships, and take opportunities you wouldn’t necessarily have time for during a shorter program, co-ops are a great option.
And as you probably figured out, Unilever’s co-op programs (as well as its internship programs) are hiring on WayUp now, so apply before those deadlines come up!