Make the most of job fairs

Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

During the freshman year, parties are far and away the most awaited events on a university campus. The stress busters that they are, the happening that they are, the cool that they are, the endless good reasons that they are. Life is a party. As long as you can afford the parties. As time goes by, things start getting a little serious and we kinda start our lookout for job fairs. This is the point when the job fairs take over the parties and things start getting serious. Although job searching has gone wildly internet, a chance to meet the recruiter face to face certainly has its advantages. While for the job seekers, it is the time to explore the opportunities they can tap from the market and know the companies in their field of study, for the job providers, it is an event to attract the best of the talents from the graduates and also the career prospects they have in offer and focus areas of their organization.

The University of Stuttgart hosts a few job fairs where many leading companies and research organizations in the region participate. Albeit, these fairs might not seem as rewarding at the outset, careful consideration and preparation may well land you a job and if lucky, a dream one. So, here are a few tips to help you add more to chances to your job hunt than just luck.

Do the homework

The moment you get to know about the job fair, google to check if they have a website to find out more details. Make sure to pre-register for the event if it demands one. Out of the list of the companies at the event which is usually made available either on the advertisements, make a list of the prospective employers suiting your profile. Go a step further and read about their focus areas and prepare some questions to start your conversation with them. This will show the recruiters that you are well informed and prepared.

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The events that happen here usually have a desk with experts who will help you shape your résumé or CV or portfolio suiting the position you are applying for. Nevertheless, you have to prepare one beforehand for it to be altered and be molded. There are plenty of YouTube videos which will help you make the alpha version. Not to forget the profile photo, if you have one, good. If not, not bad. These events usually have a professional photographer who will click one free of cost. These photo sessions usually require pre-booking. Make sure you have an appointment in advance.

Sketch a plan; Have all bases covered

Quite often is the case that the fairs have a wide range of participating companies. Not all of them will have the kind of position you are looking for. Therefore, it makes sense only to visit the stalls of those companies that make it to your list. This will also make sure you don’t miss out on the possible opportunities. Since the recruiters are going to be around and the need for the first impression to be convincingly positive, prepare as you would for an interview. Make sure you sport an attire considered professional in the region the companies hail from.

It is recommended that you behave professional and not hang out with your friends in a way you would in any other fairs. My suggestion, go alone and follow your plan. There are chances that you may have an instant interview. Although the chances are less, there is no harm in being prepared. Since there will be many students at the fair, you can’t afford more than 5-8 minutes with one prospective employer. Make sure you have a ‘career pitch’ ready and communicate the same with enthusiasm. Plan a conversation time that would make an impression. Have a time plan and reap all that you can.

Build your network

There is no better networking opportunity than a job fair for the job seekers as well as for the employee seekers. From a student’s perspective, these fairs provide an opportunity to meet the recruiters in person. Make the most of this opportunity as the recruiters usually get hundreds of emails for the vacant positions advertised on the internet. Ask the right questions to the right people. Be careful not to ask the questions, the answers of which could easily be found by a simple search on the web.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Carry more copies of your portfolio than you think might be needed as there could be last minute registration of some companies. After every conversation you have, make sure of getting a business card from the person you socialize with. Not to forget, another group of people you ought to network with are the fellow job seekers themselves. As they could help you with some information on vacancies that suit your profile.

Follow up

This is a major step that we all fail to do and thereby, fail to make the most. After the days of preparation for the fair and meeting lot of people on the day of the fair, we tend to get tired of everything and eventually give up. Remember, you are the one in need of a job. Follow up with the contacts you made at the fair. Look for the recruiters on employment-oriented social networking sites like LinkedIn or Xing and connect to them.

If you could manage a good conversation with someone, follow it up with a thank you email. Which turns out to be a great professional habit as well as might remind the recruiter of your candidacy. Don’t forget to reiterate your interest for a second interview. The employers meet a lot of candidates on the day and it totally makes sense to remind them of your existence and interest. Don’t think you are pushing too hard. Meanwhile, someone else might just do that and land a job.

Nevertheless, while doing all that might seem like an uphill task in the beginning, you will realize that all of the preparation was worthwhile when you land a job. Wishing you all the best and great amount of luck with the job fairs and the hunt. As the law of attraction states, Ask; Believe; Receive.

 

Saleem

Saleem Javed is a master’s student at the University of Stuttgart doing an International course. An engineer by education and profession, who writes to make sure he doesn’t stack it all up there. Strongly believes in the quote “If you want to be remembered, do something worth writing or write something worth reading”. Plays safe, picks the latter!

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