People

Career services rebranding means increased flexibility

January 25, 2007

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Howie Outerbridge knows how to find a job. Before he joined SFU in 2002, he'd found work as a teen counsellor with Princess Cruise Lines, a teacher-on-call in North Vancouver, a wilderness firefighter with B.C. Forest Services, and as an employment counsellor with the YWCA. Today, he puts that experience to good use as associate director for SFU career services, a newly branded department that no longer hides under the umbrella of health and counselling services.

"With the massive re-organization of student services, we're now under a group called work-integrated learning," he says. "That includes co-op education, career services and a few other associated programs that are all closely related."

Now that career services stands alone, says Outerbridge, there's more flexibility for programming and more students are using the services. In the fall of 2006, 5,372 students and recent graduates attended career events or used career advising services—an increase of 25 percent over fall 2005.

"We're offering more innovative and collaborative services," he notes. "For example, our Canadian workplace-readiness series, launched in partnership with SFU International, helps international students prepare for the world of work in Canada. And we're proud of our new career services blog (http://blog.elinc.ca/careerservices/). It enables us to convey information very quickly in a student-friendly format."

February 15 will mark the first time that career services will hold a spring recruiting fair to expose students to summer employment opportunities. The fair takes place in the south AQ from 10 am to 4 pm.

In May, career services will launch a new graduate job-finding club because research suggests that people who work in groups to find work have more chance of success.

"It's a high-touch program," explains Outerbridge. "Like a mini class or tutorial on finding work, where we support recent grads in job finding—whether it's resumé writing or coaching in cold-calling and networking."

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