SFU’s Career Services has won the ‘Special Award for Innovation by a Career Centre’ from TalentEgg, one of Canada’s biggest online career resources.
The award was a part of the Campus Recruitment Awards, a national competition that surveys student services from campuses across the country, and has student judges pick their favourites.
Tony Botelho, director at SFU Career Services and Volunteer Services, stressed that in the pursuit of a career it is important for students to leverage their degree, knowledge, and skills and to utilize previous experiences and human networks. He added that the Career Services centre is open to help any student at SFU with concerns about their future.
Botelho said, “We want people to start thinking about life after university when they start. It’s not that students [need] a whole plan.”
One of the basic models that the Career Services focuses on is the acknowledgement that change is going to happen in the future. “By the time you graduate, the world is going to be different and you are going to be different,” explained Botelho.
Career Services helps students start thinking about the various possibilities that may interest them, and encourages them to take an “intentional approach,” using their time purposefully during university.
By pursuing co-op or volunteer positions, students become aware of possibilities they would otherwise not know about, Botelho explained. He believes those stepping stones open students to options that might motivate them to take on a different journey in the future.
“What we do is giving [students] a little structure in terms of how to frame these activities, and then also giving them the permission [. . .] to change their minds,” he added.
According to Botelho, SFU Career Services is one of the first career centres that fully embraces these unique approaches.
In addition to the centre’s focus on first-years or students early in their career, its promotional activities played a big role in securing the award. Performance installation ads are one of the unique promotional activities that the Career Services has undertaken in the past.
Recently, in 2011, Career Services booked a space in the AQ and set up a typical student’s living arrangement. On the set a person representing a student wore a green mask and displayed a sign with the message, “You can’t live here forever.” They also posted a video of another promotion online pranking students, which to date has had nearly 20,000 views on YouTube.
Earlier this year, the group held an interactive “Build Your Career” lego contest in which students were told to build a lego structure that represented their career possibilities. Submissions were posted to Instagram or Twitter along with the hashtag “#sfucareer.”
“There are resources available here, so please take an advantage of [them],” Botelho encourages students.
As a final message, he added that no one is alone in feeling anxious about what’s to come. “[You] are not the only one who’s worried about your future: it happens to everyone at some point.
“Not knowing what you want to do is okay, however, just not doing anything is not a great strategy. There are things you can do that will positively influence your circumstances.”