SBA staff member treats career preparedness as an avocation as well as a vocation

For Farah Harb, helping to prepare young people for rewarding careers isn’t just a nine-to-five job.

Harb, assistant director of the WSU School of Business Administration’s Office of Career Planning and Placement, began volunteering with Vista Maria, a treatment center for at-risk youth, in July. She taught three career readiness sessions to a group of nine high school students.

"Students need some sense of direction, especially at that age group," Harb said. "They are about to graduate from high school and move onto the next stage in their lives."

Harb taught the students how to put together a resume and how to make the best possible impression in a job interview. At the end of the three-session course, Harb even took the students shopping and purchased each of them a business suit. Harb said actually taking the time to go shopping with the students, rather than just making the financial contribution, was important to see the attire the students would select.

"When a job prospect walks into a room for an interview, you better believe that the interviewer is going to note details of what you are wearing," Harb said. "I want my students to look professional and make a good first impression."

Harb, who has been with the university since 2010, said the students mentioned that they had some type of career course before, but that they did not get much out of it. Unlike the previous courses the students took, Harb thought it was important to assess each student’s personality and discuss their individual career options.

Harb will be teaching five additional two-hour session courses on resume and cover letter writing, applying for a job and networking, business etiquette, interview skills, "dress for success" and mock interviews. The courses run from January through March and are geared towards 14-18 year olds.

In addition to the skills to find a good job, Harb hopes her students take away a sense of responsibility to help others.

"If you help someone, eventually down the line they are going to want to help someone else," she said. "Maybe one day they will buy a suit for someone else or be able to pass along something that I taught in a class."

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