It’s a hub of activity here at the Careers and Employment office as we finalise all the preparations for the Careers Fair happening this week at Griffith. If you aren’t aware, it is peak grad recruitment season as company recruiters busily tour the country talking, promoting and encouraging uni students to apply for their programs. This week it is Queensland’s turn as industry visits the Nathan campus on Tuesday and Gold Coast on Thursday culminating with Australia’s biggest career expo, The Big Meet, where up to 100 companies will be looking for high quality graduates and undergraduates. In the past weeks, our team has been putting together the Careers Fairs and promoting the benefits of the event in assisting with the hunt for employment after university. But let’s be honest, there can be so much going on at uni sometimes that you can completely miss the email or reminder from your lecturer about upcoming events which may help you take a closer step towards your future life.
And I guess it comes back to the question we first get asked at five years old – what do you want to be when you grow up? And the truth is, some of us may not even know yet even if we are studying a particular degree. Yet some of us know exactly what we want to do. When I first got asked that question in high school, I had no clear answers. I had a vague idea but I wasn’t really sure of the career possibilities. Years later, I still have moments where I’m not sure but no matter what job I am in, I always ask myself what can I learn from this situation? To me, education is a way of finding things out. Education is what we do in order to discover. Therefore, these events are the perfect opportunity to use the knowledge you gained from your university degree, work experience or just your life to ask industry representatives all the questions you want to know.
As you may have experienced, it’s not an easy job marketplace right now. In your search for a grad role, you will be competing against other students for a select number of positions and will be completing many grad applications over the coming weeks. You will most likely be faced with the same situation whether applying for a part-time or casual position, vacation work associated with your degree or the grad position of your dreams. Undertaking the recruitment process requires patience, perseverance, and hard work but also the ability to utilise the resources around you to present the best application you can to your potential employer. And that’s where university services like the Careers and Employment Service and events such as Careers Fairs play a pivotal role in providing you with expert advice and guidance in developing an effective resume and tailoring it to a particular position; writing competitive selection criteria and application letters and performing mock interviews with our career counsellors.
So why come along to the Careers Fairs? Well, I’m in the same boat as many of you – these are my first Careers Fairs. I’m only in week two as the new Student Employment and Communications Officer and I’m on a learning curve as well. I will face the same situation as many of you in the coming weeks in applying for a job and I may be asking a lot of the questions you have already considered for the Careers Fair – what are the right questions to ask; can I really get a job out of just talking to a recruiter; is it really worth it to come along when there will be so many other students; do I have what it takes to impress this employer and how do I stand out?
Every single one of you will have a different story to tell but I believe regardless of whether you are a first year starting out in uni or in your final semester, you can definitely benefit from attending the Careers Fairs. Ask plenty of questions. Introduce yourself. Be prepared. Take the time to research companies and be interested in the opportunities available to you. Learn from those around you. Take advantage of all the services available to you at university. Bring along a copy of your resume and get it checked over for free at the Application Station. Grab a bag and take as many brochures and business cards as you can. Don’t be afraid to send follow-up emails to show your appreciation at talking to a company representative. Be passionate and enthusiastic. But most importantly, do what works for you.
I definitely know that if I hadn’t sent personal messages to potential employers last year I would never have been presented with the opportunities I have now, working in the Careers and Employment Service. And wherever I end up, I will always keep learning. At the end of the day, what will you lose by turning up on campus this week and introducing yourself to a potential employer? The people you meet and the networks you form can only boost your chances of landing a great job.