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Biology Co-op

Find out everything you need to know about Biology Co-op using the links below. Need help? Contact us at 250-721-8637 or or stop by Cunningham 105.

Sample résumés and cover letters

Need to write a résumé or cover letter but not sure where to start? Contact your co-op coordinator or check out the tool kit for tips and practice exercises.

Sample résumés

Junior résumé

Junior résumé
Barry Motwill

1 Davies Rd.
Victoria, B.C.
V8S 4E3
(250) 370-0000


My career focus is in environmental research and resource management in areas of forestry, wildlife, freshwater/marine ecology and education. Through further coursework and co-op experience, I will identify an area of graduate study.


2007-present: University of Victoria, Biology Major

Work Term Applied for: 1
Present Term of Study: 2nd Year, 2nd Term


2007 Karl Anderson Foundation Bursary ($500); 2006 Passport to Education ($850), Academic achievement award ($250); 2002-2006 High School Honour Roll.

  • Interpersonal Skills - cooperation and tolerance strengthened while tree planting; high pressure multitasking as a cashier, short-order cook and main interface with customers at McDonalds; patience, caring and leadership developed as a volunteer counselor at a camp for disabled children (three summers).
  • Field Skills - strong love of nature and outdoor activities, e.g. 4-day backpacking expedition in the Rockies, kayaking the Bowren Lake circuit, mountain biking, tree planting (understanding seedling requirements, site selection, wilderness survival, orienteering)
  • Organizational Skills - efficiency training by McDonalds restaurant; excellent planning skills for a summer in the wilderness with few trips to civilization; successfully juggling five science courses, a part-time job delivering pizza and participating in local soccer league.
  • Certifications - Leadership Course for camp counselor position; First Aid training - St. John's basic; CPR - C ticket; swimming certifications up to bronze medallion; driver's license - Class 5.
  • Computing Experience - Competent in both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Excellent Internet and word processing skills. Familiar with database, spreadsheet, and graphing programs. Use of Minitab for Statistics.
  • Pizza Hut, Victoria, BC
    Sept. 2006-present (part-time)

    Delivery person - Responsible for prompt delivery of pizza, cash collected, customer service. Busiest outlet in Victoria - up to 50 orders per night shift, accident-free. Employee of the month award.

  • Nechako Reforestation, Prince George, BC
    May-August, 2005

    Tree planter - Camped for two months while working ten hours a day, six days a week. Physically demanding, unsupervised work requiring teamwork and self- and group motivation. Estimating physical space in order to plant the proper number of seedlings per hectare. Proper site selection was essential. One of the top planters; excellent tree survival rating.

  • Weatherwise Windows, Prince George, BC
    June-August, 2005

    Sash hanger - Required careful and precise workmanship attaching the hardware (locks, hinges, screenclips) to ensure fit and balance of windows. Built units, glazed and weather-stripped. Knowledgeable in all stages of window production. Small company with great team spirit - pitcher for weekly softball games.

  • Canada Employment Centre, Smithers, BC
    June-August, 2004

    Various labour jobs - landscaping, painting, industrial fence building, construction work and roofing with both tiles and rock. Worked in crew of five; teamwork and good communications were important skills. Long hours in hot conditions.


Includes bussing, prep cook, equipment tester for rental company and medical data entry. I also received much satisfaction through volunteer work with Northwood Recreation Association and as a summer camp counselor. Both involved organizing activities, games and arts and crafts as well as child supervision.


Jane Doe, Senior Treeplanter
Nechako Reforestation
(250) 561-0000 or (250) 564-0000

Mr. G. Winston, Construction Head
Weatherwise Windows
(250) 562-0000

Senior résumé

Senior résumé
Jane Black

1220 Solong Avenue
Victoria, B.C.
V8N 2E9
(250) 487-4758


My immediate goal is to work towards a BSc focusing on freshwater and marine ecology, resource management, impact assessment and ecotoxicology. My experiences in co-op are helping me to define an area for graduate research.


2006-present: University of Victoria, Biology Major
2005-2006: Camosun College, Biology

Work Term Applied for: 3
Present Term of Study: 4th Year, 1st Term


Western Canadian Universities Marine Biological Society (WCUMBS) bursary 2006 ($300); Victoria Naturalist Society (2005). Canadian high school mathematics award (top 25%) 2001 - 2003.

  • Field Skills - monitored and sampled various freshwater sites for chemical and biological factors; conducted regular water sampling of marine aquaculture system; competent with operation of small and medium sized power boats, kayaks and canoes; SCUBA open water certificate - 25 dives logged; several 2- and 3-day backpacking trips; love for the outdoors and active in many sports.
  • Projects Completed/Research - designed, conducted, analyzed data for and wrote reports on a study of the limnological features of two lakes and a comparison of oxygen concentrations inside and outside net pens; researched information and prepared fact sheets and summaries (see most recent job), and completed class reports on endangered mammals in B.C. and on mine reclamation methods.
  • Interpersonal Skills - demonstrated professionalism while interviewing senior scientists for Ministry of Environment project; excellent time management and organizational thinking skills applied to the task of remodeling sections of the Ministry of Environment library.
  • Computing Experience - Familiar with Windows and Apple word processing software; completed courses: CSc 100, CSc 200 and Stats 255.
  • B.C. Ministry of Environment, Environmental Protection - Toxicology Unit, Victoria, BC
    January-April, 2007: Toxicology Research Assistant

    Conducted research projects on hazardous chemicals, such as dioxins, PCBs, wood treatment formulations, and heavy metals. Contaminated sites management, risk assessment, and special waste disposal. Major research projects required: information collection through literature searches and personal contact with scientists, analysis and report preparation. Topics included a series of Toxicology Fact Sheets for public dissemination, and a Fisheries Advisories Review summarizing BC inland dioxin/furan advisories with criteria for their derivation. Additional responsibilities included cataloging and maintaining chemical safety data sheets, literature, and microfiche documents for the Industrial Waste and Hazardous Contaminants Branch.

  • B.C. Ministry of Environment, Kamloops, B.C.
    May-August, 2006: Water Sampling Technician/Research Assistant

    Monitored and studied water quality of several rivers and lakes within the Thompson-Nicola Region. Responsible for field sampling of physical, chemical and some biological criteria, chlorophyll analysis, and regular laboratory maintenance. Responsible for major report "The Comparative Limnology of Logan and Nicola Lakes." Participated in the Shuswap Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program and report preparation.

  • Pacific Aquafoods Ltd., Campbell River, BC
    May-August 2005: Aquaculture Technician

    Involved with all aspects of salmon husbandry in the marine environment. Autopsied coho salmon and monitored the occurrence of BKD and other diseases. Conducted water sampling program for oxygen, salinity, temperature and toxic phytoplankton concentrations. Fed fish, washed nets and maintained careful records. Conducted a study on the feasibility of long line oyster culture on the site. Lived with a small group of coworkers on an isolated island for weeks at a time.


Volunteered - Royal Jubilee Hospital E.R., assisted patients with registration and general information and trained new volunteers (5 hours/week). Salesperson - house to house sales for the Southwestern Co., Nashville TN (Summer 2004). Labourer/Salesperson for Sears Department Store, Victoria BC (part-time 2003).


Ms. Jane Doe
B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
(250) 387-9511

Mr. M. Smith, Toxicologist, A/Unit Head
B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
(250) 387-9954


Camosun College - 2005 - 2006

  • BIOL 100 - A
  • CHEM 100 - B
  • MATH 100 - B
  • PHYS 100 - B

Cover letter tips

Why use a cover letter?
  • A cover letter accompanies your résumé and personalizes your application.
  • It introduces you and your résumé to the employer.
  • It emphasizes your relevant strengths related to the employer's needs.
Cover letter template


Employer's name
Company's name

Dear Dr./Mr./Mrs. (Name of Employer),

State the purpose of writing, the position you are applying for and how you heard about it.
Market your skills to the employer as they relate to the position. Using action verbs, highlight your strengths and abilities. State how you meet the specific requirements of the position as advertised. Refer to your résumé.

In your conclusion, use an appropriate statement that leaves you open for follow-up action. For example, you may request an application form or refer to your contact information. Restate what you can do for the company and thank the employer for their consideration.

Yours sincerely,
Your name (typewritten)

Enclosure (indicates your résumé is attached)

Cover letter tips

Here are few tips to get you started. Want more? Check out the tips and samples in the tool kit or contact your co-op office for specific samples.

  • A good cover letter should be concise, businesslike and to the point. Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.
  • Direct the letter to a specific individual within the organization. If not available, use "Dear Madam/Sir" or "To Whom It May Concern". Some employers posting on the co-op job board prefer to remain confidential.
  • State your purpose of writing; identify the position you’re applying for.
  • Tailor your letter to a specific position. Explain how your skills and background are useful to the position you’re seeking.
  • Focus on the employer's needs, not yours. Show how you’ll be valuable and contribute to the company.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the career field by using related terminology (but make sure you use them correctly!)
  • Be direct and convincing. Use energetic and powerful words. Use action verbs to begin most sentences in the body of the letter.
  • State that you are enclosing your résumé.
  • Thank the employer for their consideration.
  • The layout should be neat and easy to read. Make the letter readable by leaving proper margins.
  • Check for spelling, typographical and grammatical errors.
  • Type your name at the end (signature not required).

What to avoid in your cover letter

  • Lack of focus
  • Poor grammar, spelling and punctuation errors
  • Self-deprecation
  • Poor overall appearance
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