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Vol 39  No 10
Feb. 22, 2007



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Memorial’s career support goes high-tech

Virtual advice
by Jeff Green

Memorial’s Centre for Career Development recently launched several new online tools to help students and alumni find jobs. Lynn Walsh, left, and Chris Hounsell are employment development co-ordinators with the centre in St. John’s. (Photo by Jeff Green)

Memorial has gone high-tech in its attempt to help students and alumni search for the right career.

The university’s Centre for Career Development (CCD) has rolled out several new initiatives in recent months aimed at helping make the hunt for a job for them a little easier. From tweaking resumes and cover letters to catch the attention of potential employers to brushing up on interview skills to learning how to actually look for a job, the centre has taken its career advice to a whole new level – online.

It’s all in an attempt to appeal to an ever-growing technologically-savvy student population.

Since November, the CCD has been offering practical and user-friendly career advice to Memorial students and alumni who log in from all across Canada from the comfort of their homes or offices.

Programs like its Virtual Job Finding Club (VJFC) and Realtime Career Chat are Internet-based initiatives that allow Memorial to branch out and connect with students in a way the centre wasn’t able to in the past.

“In short, we’re changing how we offer career advice to better serve clients,” said Chris Hounsell, one of the employment development co-ordinators with CCD. “We still offer our services in-person if somebody wants to drop by our offices, but we’re cognizant of the fact that many of our clients are looking for different ways to get career advice.”

In order to appeal to students and alumni on the move – with busy schedules – the centre launched its second VJFC earlier this month. It took place one or two hours every evening for a week in partnership with the College of the North Atlantic. Users logged onto a website where moderators from the university and college were available to offer tips on everything from skills assessment to developing a career portfolio. Participants were able to interact with others and the moderators by using a headset with a microphone or through a direct messaging window. The response to the club was overwhelming; 115 people registered for the week-long sessions and 40-50 users signed-in each night.

“During the first two clubs, we had people log in from all over the province as well as Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and St-Pierre,” said fellow employment development co-ordinator Lynn Walsh. “The goal of our project is to help students and alumni refine their job search tools and help them develop new ones. Our sessions are very interactive and we hope that they continue to grow.”

Ms. Walsh said CCD is planning to offer another VJFC in late April or early May.

For those looking for career advice sooner, though, they don’t have to wait until the spring. They can communicate instantly with the centre each week at a set time thanks to its Realtime Career Chat program. That initiative taps into technology students are already using such as Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger. (See sidebar)

“We have to appeal to today’s generation,” said Mr. Hounsell. “Students are using these programs to communicate with one another. They want to be able to contact us to ask career questions and we wanted our centre to appeal to them so that’s why we launched this new program.”

“This is just one more tool for us to reach out to our audiences,” noted Ms. Walsh. “We’ve also posted PowerPoints with audio presentations on our website that provide career advice. As well, we’re offering a Virtual Job Fair online in early March.”

“We’re reaching out and meeting the needs of students and alumni who want career advice,” added Mr. Hounsell. “We still offer services in-person but going high-tech allows us to connect with a whole new generation of folks.”

To learn more about the Centre for Career Development’s new services, visit

Career chatting 101

Realtime Career Chat is offered free each weekday afternoon from 3-4:30 p.m., instantly connecting students and alumni to trained staff members from the Centre for Career Development. In order for users to connect with staff members, they need to add the following e-mail address to their contact lists:

MSN Messenger

Windows Live Messenger 

Yahoo Messenger

Google Talk


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