Friday, 18 September 2015

September - it's not too soon to consider your career

While finding a job may not be at the top of your list right now, September is actually one of the busiest times for recruitment, and as such, one of the best times for you to look for work.

On Wednesday, September 23, CAPS: Your U of A Career Center will be hosting a campus-wide, multi-disciplinary career fair. This is an opportunity to connect with employers, learn about different careers or inquire about job possibilities. Everyone is welcome at Careers Day, and there are opportunities for students in all disciplines and in all years of study.  Being proactive in your work search, and attending an event like Careers Day can provide you the opportunity to build a rapport with employers and potentially land you a job.

In my first year, I had the same misconceptions as most students – being in first year I assumed that I wouldn’t need to attend the career fair since I was not looking for a career yet.  Looking back, this is amusing to me because in my own inexperience, I did not realize that there are numerous employers exhibiting at the Career Fair that are interested in hiring co-op students or interns. Had I attended the career fair perhaps I would have secured a coveted summer position at company that I respected. I had also believed that not having a career path yet would make my attendance at the career fair meaningless or even disheartening.  However, a year later when I attended the career fair for the first time, I realized that it was an excellent opportunity to learn about companies that I might want to work for in the future. Reflecting on that experience, I’m now able to appreciate that the fair also allowed me to practice having professional conversations with potential employers – which is an invaluable and life-long skill.

So, here are my tips to you for making the most of your Careers Day:

  • Do your research before Careers Day.  By finding out in advance which organizations will be attending the fair, you can prioritize the employers that you want to target.  By reading up on your organizations of interest you will be more equipped to facilitate a conversation after approaching their booth.  

  • Prepare focused, thoughtful and interesting questions to ask employers while networking.  By preparing in advance, you will appear more professional and self-confident to an employer.  As well, having questions prepared in advance will demonstrate your interest and knowledge of the organization.   

  • Be prepared to answer questions about yourself. Most employers will have questions of their own for you and this is an excellent time to practice your elevator pitch. Practice your speech in advance so that when you are asked, you can answer in a concise and organized manner. 

  • Polish your resume and update your LinkedIn profile. Before attending Careers Day, make sure that you have your personal career profiles up to date with your latest accomplishments, work and volunteer experience.

Hope to see you next week at Careers Day and good luck!

Amanda Shular

Amanda is studying English at the University of Alberta. She's taken time off from her degree to complete a work term with CAPS: Your UofA Career Centre working as a Communications Intern.


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