Reflections From the BIG Fair

Reflections From the BIG Fair

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The Big Fair was back at SFU this September, where students and alumni could learn more about dozens of volunteer, educational and career opportunities. Exhibitors featured some old favourites like BCIT and SAP, as well as new favourites like Pepsico.

One thing I love about the Big Fair (besides the endless offerings of free pens, key chains and other goodies), is that they cover off everything. Not only can you look into job opportunities, but you can also investigate post-grad programs and options on living abroad for a semester. It allows you to immediately action some tips you may get from different booths, so if a job at Microsoft requires a few more technical skills, head over to BCIT and learn about their part-time programs. Or if you learn that your chances at a government job would be greatly improved by improving your spoken French maybe you’ll want to consider spending a semester in France…. the information booth is only a few feet away!

One change I’ve noticed at the Big Fair, is that fewer booths are actively taking in student resumes. In fact, I only saw one table with an actual inbox for resumes and applications. Other representatives were still accepting resumes, of course, and if you’re serious about attending a career fair, you should always have some on hand (at the very least you can have some of our wonderful advisers look them over.) Unsurprisingly, the latest trend seems to be giving students cards or brochures with links or instructions on how to apply online.

This makes a lot of sense for all involved, paper resumes can easily go missing between the fair and the desk of whomever needs to see it, and by submitting online your resume could be seen by several hiring managers.

Now, I can hear you asking, “If I’m sent to apply online anyways, what’s the point?” Well there’s still plenty to be gaining from an in-person visit. First of all, you can ask tons of questions; ask how the online application process works, if they use an automated system you’ll need to ensure you use the right keywords in your application (hint: they’re usually in the description).

You’ll also be able to get information about the company that may not be available elsewhere, and use this to further tailor your resume and cover letter. In addition to utilizing all this great info, make sure you mention who you talked to and when; recruiters talk to lots of students, but hopefully if you leave a good impression they’ll remember when asked about you later. Of course, always offer to leave a resume or business card with them anyway, just because they aren’t asking, doesn’t mean they won’t be taking them.

Whether you’re actively looking for new opportunities, or simply curious what’s out there, the Big Fair will likely have something to interest you.

Learn more about the Do's and Don't of job fairs or read my blog from last year's BIG Fair.

Posted on October 08, 2012