Career Day is upon us once again, CVs being printed, booths being set up, all the preparations being finalized. I have to say, personally, I really enjoy career day, meet up with past colleagues and see the young professionals that are going to be in the market. But I tell you, it is not all fun and no work, actually, it is all work, we as recruiters are supposed to judge the professionals in the minutes that we spend with them and decide that they are fit (behaviorally speaking) or not.
Unfortunately most people don’t understand that the career days are actually considered mass recruitment campaigns, or mass initial interviews, and young professionals unfortunately miss out on a very important opportunity to market themselves correctly.
Alexander Graham Bell once said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” and the best preparation is divided into three stages:
Before Career Day
- Prepare your resume, print them and make sure it looks exactly like the way you want it to look.
- Research the companies that you want to join, pay extra attention to recent press releases posted on the Web site. These can usually be found in the “About Us,” “News” or “Media” sections of the site. Companies usually issue press releases to brag about achievements or future plans. (When doing that, include the company’s vision and mission, competitors, opportunities it will make you stand out.
- Practice, Practice, and more Practice, practice everything, practice interview questions, practice your introduction to the company representative, everything you can think about, practice it.
During Career Day
- I wear traditional attire and make sure it is meticulous, you should also do the same.
- Avoid walking with food or drinks.
- Have your CVs ready in a professionally looking portfolio. (I have seen some people bring them in grocery bags).
- Enthusiastically introduce yourself with a firm handshake and clearly state your name, degree, and major. Now start the introduction you practiced.
- We both know why you are here, don’t wait for me to ask for your CV, I suggest to have it out before approaching the company.
- Be courteous to the people behind you, don’t take all the time, let others get the opportunity.
- NEVER EVER ask about Salaries or benefits, it is not the time nor the place, also, it will hurt your chances of a call back.
- We live in the digital world, even if the company representative says to apply online, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to hear from you, stand out and they will remember your name when looking through the CVs.
- Some companies don’t have open positions at the time of the career fair, and they are only there for public relations, that doesn’t mean to leave them, stand out, and once there is an opening, they will remember you.
- All companies will ask you this: “Do you have any questions?” take this time to stand out, below are some examples.
Questions to Ask
- What specific skills/qualifications does your organization look for in its candidates?
- This is a great time to emphasize on the matching qualities that you have.
- How do I find out about job openings with your company?
- If there are no openings at the time being, this questions shows that you are eager to join the company.
- How does your organization train its new employees?
- What opportunities does your company offer for individual professional development?
- What is a typical career path to the higher level position of _________?
- These sort of questions shows the company representative that you are exited to grow in the company.
- Please describe what initial assignments in the area of _________ might be?
- Especially for engineers, this question is important for their information.
- Tell me about your job. What do you like and dislike about it?
- Every representative have been talking about the company or listening to people’s stories, this question offers you insight, and gives you a chance to stand out.
- Can you suggest anything I can do to improve my chances of employment with your company?
- You might not get it from the first time, if not, ask for tips, recruiters will be more than happy to give it out. And the next career day, come to the same person and he will most likely hire you if you worked on the points he made.
- May I have your business card?
- What is the best way for me to follow-up with you?
- End it this way, and follow his instructions (Some people prefer email, and others the phone) also the time it takes to follow-up is important.
Best of Luck, and see you out there 🙂