A ray of hope: How SFU Career and Volunteer Services connects job-seeking students with employers despite pandemic

October 06, 2021
SFU's manager of on-campus recruitment, Jocelyn Loi, helped organize the West Coast Virtual Fair for students and alumni.

SFU Career and Volunteer Services is hosting the third West Coast Virtual Fair for students and alumni on Oct. 5 – 7, featuring 230 organizations, about a 50-per-cent increase over pre-pandemic, in-person career fairs.

It’s all thanks to a collaboration between SFU, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Victoria (UVic).

Before the pandemic, Career and Volunteer Services hosted in-person fairs at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses. But with new pandemic health restrictions in place, the department faced a challenge.

Seeking a solution, the manager of on-campus recruitment, Jocelyn Loi, reached out to counterparts at UBC and UVic who were encountering similar challenges.  

“There were a lot of uncertainties,” says Loi. “We were not sure how many employers would still be interested in attending university recruitment events as many businesses scaled back their recruitment efforts because of the pandemic.”

After weeks of researching, brainstorming and sharing resources, the three schools joined forces to host their first virtual fair in November 2020. It was a smashing success. More than 2600 students and alumni met with 400 representatives from 184 organizations.

“We were able to bring on many new organizations to SFU through this collaboration, allowing our students and alumni to have access to a greater number and a wider variety of opportunities despite being in the middle of pandemic.”

In the past, the three institutions competed for employers’ attention. Now, employers no longer have to pick and choose which institution’s fair to attend.

What’s more, both organizations and students can attend irrespective of their location in the world, and students can continue to access the virtual fair platform for months after the event is over.

“The primary motivation for organizing the virtual fair was to provide hope to students and alumni who might be anxious about their future during these unprecedented times,” says Loi. “I am happy we were able to achieve that.”

To learn more about the West Coast Virtual Fair visit SFU Career and Volunteer Services.