The co-op program offered at the University of Waterloo gives students like me the opportunity to gain work experience in a field whether it is business-related or engineering-related; most programs at Waterloo usually have a co-op option for students. When it comes to a field such as Nanotechnology, a field that is new and not a lot of people have heard of it before, it can be difficult to find a co-op position that directly focuses on the use of Nanotechnology. Luckily, there has been a recent uptick of startups in Waterloo that are gaining a notorious reputation in their use of Nanotechnology - VueReal being one of them.
VueReal has been one of the most talked-about startups in the Waterloo area in the perspective of students in the Nanotechnology Engineering program. Their work in micro-LED displays is something that interests students to learning more about them and potentially working for them as a co-op. I was no different from them as a first year student, going to the University of Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference in November 2017. That was the first time I heard of VueReal and learned a lot about what they work on in terms of their micro-LED display. My friends and I often talked about how nice it would be to work for a startup like VueReal and getting the opportunity to work in a field that combines the use of Nanotechnology with optics and electronics to create next-gen technology.
I was intrigued by what would it take for someone like myself, having no previous experience in Nanotechnology as a first year student, to somehow land a co-op position at VueReal. When VueReal had a posting for a co-op position during the Winter 2019 term, I didn’t hesitate in applying for it, hoping to land the interview and potentially the position. Now, it has been over a month since my last day working at VueReal as a co-op student, and it has been an eye-opening experience working for them.
Now we’re going to the main topic of this blog: getting a job at VueReal. I get it - that’s the main reason for reading this blog up to this point so here is my opinion on what it takes to get a job at VueReal (Hint: It’s really not that difficult):
Let your resume speak for yourself:
When it comes to the resume, it is important to include your experiences and skills that match up (or seem to) with the job description. This step may look simple at first but there are always those people who either have too much or too little points on their resume. The whole point of a resume is to get the employer (VueReal) the opportunity to get to know more about your experience and skills in order to make a good impression on the company that’s hiring. With a new field such as Nanotechnology, there is always going to be limited experience available for what the company may be looking for.
VueReal encourages people to include on their resume other types of experiences and skills such as being able to code, project management experience, AutoCAD/SolidWorks experience, etc. The co-op position may not require these kinds of skills or experience, but there is the potential of being able to contribute in other fields of the project or tasks that you may be assigned to that would help the VueReal team a lot. Also, editing your LinkedIn profile to match up with your resume may also help you a lot.
On my resume, I included my experience working for a software startup that involves me learning new programming languages (Angular and Node.js) on top of the other programming experience I already had from before (Java, MATLAB, Python). Even though the position I applied to didn’t require programming experience, I was able to work on a side project that helped improve the testing process at VueReal when it came to reports and analytics.
If you have been selected for an interview, congrats in advance on making it so far. Getting the interview was the hard part, acing it is up to one major point (you probably know by the title of this section): Be Yourself.
In the interview, I understand that you might be anxious and nervous in the interview (I was too during my interview with VueReal), but that shouldn’t stop you from getting that job with VueReal. That is why it is important to just be yourself during the interview process. Just imagine that the interviewers are like your friends or family. That is basically what the people at VueReal are like to one another. One of the major values at VueReal is family and it is important for you to show them that you’re the right fit for the team. This holds true to every interview you had or will have down the road and VueReal is no different when it comes to this.
During my interview, I was super nervous during the process that I felt that I was talking too quietly and mumbling when answering the questions. However, the people who interviewed knew about this and let me get a hold of myself and I managed to be able to act like my normal self to them. Everyone at VueReal treats everyone like family and a co-op student like me is no exception to this value. By acting like your normal self, you are going to leave them with a good impression. You got the interview because they deem you a good candidate for this position based on your experiences and skills on your resume - now you just have to be yourself..
Show your interest
This section is probably the most important one out of all. VueReal works on creating next-gen display technology with the use of micro-LEDs. Someone like myself who is in the Nanotechnology Engineering program at Waterloo, got the opportunity to learn about the use of Nanotechnology in fields such as electronics, optics, material science, and biology. For myself, I am interested in learning about the use of nanotechnology in optics and electronics industries and VueReal matched up to this with their display technology.
During the interview process, they may ask you questions regarding your interest level or how your past experiences deem you qualified for this position. Don’t be scared to tell them that you don’t have much experience in certain areas. The experience is not as important as your drive, passion, and innovation! If you show your interest in learning more about what they’re working on and are willing to put in the extra hours to help contribute to their final goals, it is often more valuable. Remember this is a startup; you’re getting the opportunity to work in an environment where you’re able to groom your interest and potentially come up with a solution or figure out what your goals are down the road.
During my interview, I also mentioned with every explanation of my experience that I am willing to put in the extra work in any assigned tasks or projects because working for a startup such as VueReal in the field that involves Nanotechnology is something that I believed in. I still hold to that to this very day in terms of what I enjoyed during my time working for VueReal. It is super cool learning how their work involves Nanotechnology, given that most of the technical work being done doesn’t get covered in school till later on in my undergraduate (and potentially graduate) career.
By showing VueReal that you are interested in working for a startup, knowing very well the amount of work that needs to be done by everyone (full-timers and co-ops), it will help you a lot in the long-term. You will get the opportunity to make new friends (full-timers and co-ops) learn a lot about micro-LED technology, and the most important thing of all: having fun.
I hope that reading this blog gives you a general idea of what it takes to land a job at VueReal. Even if you don’t get it, the stuff that I mentioned above can be applied literally to every company. It may not be the best advice available but coming from someone who never imagined working for VueReal, it was a dream come true and I hope this blog helps someone down the road. Best of luck and I can’t wait to see what you bring to the VueReal family!