Updated: Aug 28, 2020
We have interviewed our CEO, Amandine Bugnicourt, on making the most out of your participation in job fairs. Going to job fairs doesn't always come naturally to some, but taking those extra steps can make it worthwhile - and less intimidating.
Would you advise PhDs to attend job fairs? Is it worth it?
As far as networking events go, job fairs are actually essential events when looking for career opportunities. According to our surveys, 6% of newly graduated doctors find their first job after the defense in this way (Ref: Emploi 2013). It's easy to see why: meeting recruiters is much more effective: you're not just one of the 300 applications for this or that position. You can convey your enthusiasm, your vibe as well as your skills!
Yet many candidates seem reluctant to attend these events, why?
Indeed, selling one's skills may not come naturally for everyone. The secret is to prepare ahead of time!
What is the best way to do that?
As we teach participants in some of the workshops we run on this theme, the first step is to follow your career plan. Identify the job fairs where you can meet employers hiring the trades and sectors you are targeting. Then, examine the list of companies present and the positions they offer. You can prepare suitable CVs for each offer.
Then, you need to prepare a pitch to present your skills and your motivations to the company.
This requires, first of all, to be aware of the context: in an average day at a job fair, I meet at least 150 candidates, in a constant hubbub. Truth be told, I forget about all those who come to my booth just to hand me a CV that they could have posted on the online platform. On the other hand, I usually remember those who come with a concise and punchy message: a real pitch of less than 2 minutes.
Pitching consists of presenting yourself orally with conviction, highlighting your skills and motivations in relation to the position you want to fill. This is how you generate interest. And interest can (and will!) get you an interview!