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Virtual Co-op: Emmy Tran’s Experience as a Public Relations Specialist at ApplyBoard

ApplyBoard

Each term, ApplyBoard welcomes a new group of highly skilled students to our team for their co-op terms. These students have the opportunity to gain experience in a professional environment and make a difference as members of our team!

We are thrilled to hear from Emmy Tran, a Public Relations student at Conestoga College, who joined ApplyBoard for the summer.

In the midst of a pandemic that exacerbated job markets in every industry, I was fortunate enough to still begin my summer co-op position with ApplyBoard. 

I had secured the position of Public Relations Specialist with ApplyBoard in early February, and my projected start date was late April. By mid-March, the government had implemented stay-at-home policies, and I feared that my co-op term would be cancelled. Thankfully, my position was still available, and ApplyBoard was prepared to move all operations online and allow co-op students to work remotely. I was overjoyed and eager to start my journey at this company. Having now been here for two months, this has been my virtual co-op experience so far. 

Emmy Tran

Why I Chose Applyboard

My history with ApplyBoard is an interesting one. As an international student from Vietnam who came to Canada for school, I was actually an ApplyBoard customer three years ago! In October 2019, I happened to attend a networking event hosted by ApplyBoard in collaboration with Conestoga College, where I got to meet with the CEO, Martin Basiri, and became very interested in the company’s culture. 

I attended the event hosted at ApplyBoard’s office with fellow Conestoga students.

After the event, I was in contact with ApplyBoard again to film Communitech’s ‘We Built This’ video, where I talked about my journey as an international student in Canada. After visiting the headquarters a few times, observing the office setup and team culture, and following ApplyBoard on social media, I decided that this would be the perfect place for me to do my co-op. I wanted to experience working at a young and innovative startup, so I applied and got the job!

I discussed my experience working with ApplyBoard in this Communitech video.

Virtual Onboarding

Social distancing is challenging, but when employers go out of their way to accommodate staff and make sure everyone is well-equipped to do their job from home, it makes all the difference. New employees, including myself, who started remotely, received their laptop through the mail. 

My first three days were dedicated to onboarding sessions, including IT equipment set up, security training, an overview of the company’s policies, and learning about the company’s history, vision, and values. Although working from home comes with many obstacles, ApplyBoard’s Training Specialists made the process fun, interactive, and engaging. 

Diving Into Work

It was just my luck that right when I started, our Marketing Team was in the middle of an important project: the announcement of our successful Series C funding round, making us Canada’s newest Unicorn company. Having just started and barely completed my orientation training, I was overwhelmingly excited to be a part of a project of this scope. 

Although this is my second co-op term, I had never had this level of responsibility as a third-year college student! I was so grateful for my manager, Hannah Cameron, and ApplyBoard’s Director of Marketing, Alicia Bedard, who trusted and delegated a significant amount of work to me. This perfectly reflects ApplyBoard’s values of collaboration, education, and empowerment. By believing in my abilities, they inspired me to perform my best and deliver the highest quality of work. Simultaneously, I was able to observe and learn from my team and develop new skills, which is the ultimate goal of co-op programs. 

Socially Connecting While Physically Distancing

For my projects, I have touch-base meetings weekly to make sure everyone is up to speed and on the same page. My team also meets online on a regular basis to “spill the tea” and catch up outside of work. For the rest of the company, ApplyBoard still ensures employees stay connected with their colleagues and their work, despite not being in the office. 

There are always messages in the group chat. People often share pictures of their pets or a podcast they’re listening to. Others ask for Netflix or book recommendations, and it feels almost like we’re seeing each other every day! The ApplyCommittees also come up with initiatives and activities to keep everyone engaged, help us destress, and provide learning opportunities. For example, we have a Wellness Wednesday event, featuring certain speakers or health coaches to help employees work from home effectively. Some Fridays we have Kahoot! trivia. Little things like that go a long way. It helps us feel socially connected while practicing physical distancing.

Project touch-base meetings with Sarah Uffelman, ApplyBoard’s Community Events and Employer Brand Manager.

That was a recap of my first few months as a co-op student at ApplyBoard. So far, I have been extremely impressed with the company culture and how much support is available. I am confident about the remainder of my time at ApplyBoard and can’t wait to see how much I’ll accomplish and learn from this dynamic team of innovative and talented individuals.

If you are interested in joining the ApplyBoard team, be sure to check out our careers page, where we have over 100 open positions. https://www.applyboard.com/careers

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