Monday, October 4, 2010

Career Fair - still more about the fair than the career

Today was the last day of my exams (Term 2) and the first day of the Career Fair at IE Business School. The preparation for this exceptional event started a while ago and our Career Services were working extra hard to schedule the events, invite the companies, sort of prepare the students to face the enemy and create the buzz with all other resources possible. Well, the tent is up, the recruiters are there, there are some students roaming around, asking questions and lavishly distributing their CVs, but will it be any use?

How successful are career fairs for candidates anyway? For the companies? Who benefits at the end of the day? The trust is that, when it comes to business schools, the companies presented there are all known to the students through the numerous cases we have brushed through. Today, talked to a Dell representative I had a feeling that I had more background knowledge on the Dell operations management practices that she did. So, the candidates know what companies there are, which industries they represent and what opportunities there are to be offered... generally.

Second point: the recruiters are there only to paint the broad picture and present no more information than is available on the company website. Have you ever witnessed a situation during a career fair, when a recruiter told you, "We have the job just for you!"? True, there are opportunities, which are not obvious and the company representatives can point you in the right direction, but snatching a job offer just like that is improbable.

Next, if you are a star candidate, you are already known to most companies through the headhunting network. Best business school students are known and are on the market. Thus, unless you want to get loaded on company leaflets, pens, calendars and other usual paraphernalia, think why do you need to be there?

Finally, if you have decided to attend --- SHINE! Wear your best smile, make sure your make-up isn't flaking, print your CV in color and on quality resume paper and employ all the charm you have. It's 80% presentation, 10% talent and 10% luck. You must get noticed.

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