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2012 Job Fair Review

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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2012 Job Fair was held on Wednesday, February 1st 2012 at Bingemans Conference
Centre, Kitchener. University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College participated together in it.

Shuttle buses ran at half-hour intervals, ferrying students from the UC to the venue. At the reception lobby of the Conference Centre, every participating university had its own greeter’s desk to check students’ IDs and admit them into the fair (it was mandatory for all students and alumni to carry their photo ID).

Over 160 employers were present at the fair, looking to hire students from various programs for full-time, contract, summer, part-time or co-op positions. Their stalls were spread across two huge rooms. Each stall had colourful billboards showing the company’s profile, type of industry and the kind of employees that it was looking for. Some had set up monitors playing videos about the company. Enthusiastic personnel representing their employers stood behind every desk, welcoming and chatting with attendees. They had stacks of brochures, pamphlets, contact details and business cards to give away, along with freebies like stationery, accessories and even candy.

Some companies were creative in their promotional strategies. For instance, RIM gave out t-shirts in packs that looked like Blackberry Bold cell phones, while L&T Infotech gave its visitors fancy jute bags that had an Indian sari motif. A few companies had live quizzes in order to assess candidates that visited their stalls. Those quizzes served as a screening criterion for selection. Rest of the companies followed the traditional approach of accepting resume’, which would then be passed to the hiring department for processing.

Some employers had openings for internships and co-op terms in various fields including Information Technology and Business; whereas some offered exclusive summer jobs like teaching while travelling, volunteering in summer camps for kids, helping people with disabilities and undertaking social work.

What initially felt like a thin turnout quickly turned into a busy, animated affair as crowds began trickling in. Students and alumni were walking around, observing and stopping at kiosks that interested them. I noted that they were asking many questions about available positions and application process. Most of them were dressed formally, representing themselves as serious professionals.

 “Job Fair 2012” was successful since it witnessed a large number of attendees. It provided a wonderful platform for students to meet and interact with prospective employers. Students were presented with opportunities to talk about their educational background, employment history and job expectations, in a casual atmosphere – one that resembled an exhibition more than a formal interview setting. Employers were more relaxed and easier to connect with. The informal ambience encouraged better communication between students and employers.

Industry exposure in an informal setting is one of the main advantages of job fairs and this should definitely motivate more students to attend such fairs in future. 

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