Zak

Q1. 

What program were you in?

BBA, Marketing Management.

Q2. 

Where did you have your co-op work placement?

During the application process for my first placement, I was having trouble securing interviews because of my lack of work experience. I decided to do a search on Cragislist and ended up finding my own opportunity at the Mountain Vacation Rental website, alluradirect.com. I learned a ton of stuff at that job, and it was actually my experience at Mountain Vacation Rental where I learned a lot of the skills for what I’m doing now in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

My second co-op was with Langara College in the Communications & Marketing Department. It was great to get exposure to more traditional marketing there and how operations work within the public sector.

My third co-op was with a telecommunications company called Unimaxx. They were a very small company with only four employees including me. I was “all things marketing” for my duration there.

Q3. 

What is the biggest takeaway from your co-op experience?

I would advocate for doing co-op, over not doing it, because that’s really what enabled me to succeed. Much of my later professional success can be attributed to my co-op experience.

Q4. 

What work are you doing now?

After Langara, I landed a job at a small agency called Snaptech Marketing, where I was responsible for managing the SEO campaigns for their clients. From there, I got head hunted into a much larger agency, Mediative, where I ended up becoming the Manager of Organic Search after two short years.

During my time at Mediative, I got to lead the SEO strategies for some of the world’s largest companies. Brands I had the privilege of working with include Toys R Us, Cigna, and ultimately ABG (Avis Budget Group), where I led their North American SEO Strategy.

Eventually I was asked to join the team at Hootsuite, where I currently work as their Great SEO Owl.

Q5. 

How did your co-op jobs prepare you for the work that you’re doing now?

My time with co-op helped me transition from a student to a working professional. Co-op changed the way I think about deadlines and it gave me hands on experience. Experience garnered through the co-op program added credibility to my resume. If an employer is considering five people and I’m the only one with relevant experience I’m probably going to get selected. Co-op helped elevate my profile, and I can’t preach for them enough!

Q6. 

Looking forward, where would you like your career to go?

The industry I’m in changes very quickly. The tactics and strategies I was employing five years ago can’t really be used anymore; the whole job description has changed. So, who knows? So far I’ve been successful in specializing in a particular niche area of marketing, but I don’t know what the future holds. 

Q7. 

What would you say to someone who asks you about co-op?

If a student was on the fence about taking co-op, I would I’d remind them that they’re getting paid! Plus, you can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job. If you want to break that cycle co-op is a great way to gain the competitive edge over the wider pool of talent that’s looking for those big jobs and get exclusive access to technical jobs that you otherwise might not be able to get.