Peter Fourlaris: “What is your official job description at Concordia?”
Philipa Hardy: “My official title is Coordinator of Student Employment and Engagement. I run the career services centre; connecting students to the world of work, helping students figure out what they want to do in terms of where a career goes, and linking students to international internship opportunities.”
PF: “What can career services help students with?”
PH: “A lot of the services we have are involved with career counselling and career advising. We do that one on one and there are a ton of resources that students can use to do career exploration activities. We have an online career aptitude test called “Type focus,” it’s helpful for a student either knows really well what they want to do and just wants affirmation of that, or for students who really are struggling with finding a career path. It uses the “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” to determine what types of careers are best suited for the student. It’s a really good starting point for a lot of students. We also help with resume writing, cover letter writing, interview prep, mock interviews, and how-to-do job search. We also offer workshops as well, program departments or the CSA are open to having me come to do workshops about employment or other career related topics. We also have an online job board for students, and not just employment, but also volunteer opportunities too.”
PF: “What is the most common question that students ask?”
PH: “I would say there are two. One is “can you look at my resume?” The other is “I’m not sure if I’ve made the right choice with my program or major.” ”
PF: “What is the most strange or unusual question a student has asked you before?”
PH: “It had nothing to do with career and employment necessarily, but I did have a student ask to borrow my car for a driver’s exam!”
PF: (Laughing) “Oh wow! What was your response to that?”
PH: (Laughing) “Uh no thanks! It’s not available.”
PF: “What is the most rewarding part of your job?”
PH: “It’s the students, absolutely. And it’s the students coming back to me and updating me on how things are going, or telling me that they got the job or grad school that they wanted. That’s the best part.”
PF: “Do you have any advice for students in their first year?”
PH: “Absolutely. A lot of students in their first year don’t always know if they’re on the right career path, they think they’re on the right career path. They think they do, but they’re not too sure, or they either know for sure and they’ve always known exactly what they want to do. Either way, career services can give a lot of support for that. So like I was saying, to do some career exploration activities if you’re not sure what you want to do, we can help you find a focus. For those who already have a career focus, it’s a fantastic time to start networking with people in the industry. Students are in a great position to network while they’re still students and not breathing down employer’s necks for a job. It’s just basically working with us to show ways that students can connect with people who are doing the work that they’re doing, and make sure that this is really want they want to do. Also start planting those seeds, so that when they graduate they will have lots of opportunities. Getting connected early is important because it really shows on your resume, and once you have those connections, they’ll help you get the job. Then you’re not so much competing for a posted job that every single graduate in Alberta is also applying for, because you would actually have a personal connection”.
Thank you very much Ms. Philipa Hardy for very entertaining interview. I hope this article can demonstrate how approachable and helpful Ms. Hardy, and everyone at career service are.
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