AAU Career

Career fairs

Career fairs are amazing, no matter where you are in your education and career – if you, for instance, are looking for:

  • Student job – e.g. on 2nd semester
  • Project collaboration – e.g. on 5th semester
  • Internship on 8th semester
  • Your first job after 10th semester

But how do you do it? Where should you go? How to prepare? And what to do afterwards?

We guide you through it here.

Career fairs – What and how?

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    Do the companies want to talk to me?

    There are many ways in which you can attend a fair. And it is much better to ”sniff around” the different booths a little (and taste some of the candy they often hand out) that not to go at all!

    However, we would like to encourage you to decide for yourself that you will talk to some of the companies that are present – here, it is a good idea to show up well-prepared.

    You do not have strive towards a specific job, but a chat with the companies can also give you:

    • Insights into a company and/or industry
    • Practice in speaking to representatives from a firm
    • Opportunity for feedback on your CV – what do the companies look for, when selecting prospects?

    When you approach a firm it is not about giving a ”pitch” in the traditional sense. It is more about preparing some good questions and think about (and phrase), what you could do for the company, if you wish to cooperate with or work for them.

    This way you will be able to demonstrate that you know a little about the company, start a dialogue and, if the conversation takes you there, relate yourself and your skills to the challenges they are facing.

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    What if I find career fairs a bit intimidating?

    Going to a fair can be a bit intimidating if you feel you have to go and ”sell yourself”. Therefore, it is worth remembering that the companies are at the fair because they wish to talk to you – and all the other participants. They know that you might be a little nervous and they do not expect much more than that you have looked a little into the firm and feel like asking them a few questions.

    What all the firms have in common is that they have a purpose for being present at the fair.
    They might be looking for:

    Before the fair it is a good idea to look into:

    • Which companies will participate?
    • What are they looking for?

    At the Career Fair in Aalborg and The Career Days (Karrieredagene) in e.g. Copenhagen you can find the answers in the fair catalogue, which will be available a couple of weeks before the event.

    This gives you a chance to make a plan for which companies you would like to talk to an prepare yourself for meeting with them.

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    How do I attend a career fair?

    • Decide why you want to attend
    • Do some research on the companies
    • Select a few, that you will focus on
    • Prepare questions
    • Be ready for conversation – prepare so that you are able to tell something about yourself and your competencies
    • Make sure to stay in touch, if relevant – e.g. through LinkedIn

How should I prepare for the fair?

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    How can I be overprepared and understructured?

    A good tip for going to a fair is that you should be ”overprepared, under-structured”.

    You should be really well-prepared when you arrive. You should have a plan for which companies you would like to talk to and what questions you will ask. You might have written the questions down at home and thought about (and maybe even practiced) how you would tell a little about yourself, if they ask you to do so.

    At the same time, it is important that you do not get too set on your plans. You should leave room for changes, meeting with other companies and go for the opportunities that arises.

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    Which companies should I talk to?

    As preparation for the fair, we recommend that you find a (realistic) number of companies, which you will give extra attention to.

    It might be a good idea to bring a ”wild card” – for instance one of the lesser known companies. Here you could be one of a few people who talk to them rather than one of many as could be the case for one of the larger, more well-known companies. Most importantly, they should be working with something that you find interesting. You might not be interested in what the company works with as a whole. However, the structure of how they work, and the tasks assigned to a specific job might just be spot on in relation to what you would like to do.

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    What should I ask them?

    We recommend that you find some good and relevant questions to ask the company. These should demonstrate that you have looked into their company and that you also have an analytical flair. This way, you open the conversation by letting them tell you about the company, while at the same time, you have demonstrated part of your skills just in the question itself.

    Also, a good question should be based on genuine curiosity. It is a cliché, but we say that you should ”seek knowledge – not a job”.


    Find inspiration for your research

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    Should I follow a manuscript?

    When a dialogue is ongoing, it is important that you do not let a ”mental manuscript” hinder the conversation. Instead, you should be prepared to offer your professional reflections and follow-up questions bit by bit.

    Of course, you should also prepare to receive questions yourself. These you should be ready to answer. Therefore, make sure to really consider how you can explain your competencies in relatively short sentences – this is something you will need more than once (for instance, when they ask you at family gatherings).

     

    Find help specifying your competencies

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    What if I really don’t know what to do?

    For some, it can be very intimidating to go and talk to companies at the fair.

    It can be difficult to figure out how to initiate a dialogue with a company, so here is an idea to get started:

    A good question to begin with could e.g. be: ”I have read about [company name] and I can see that you are working with [insert field]. I think that sounds really interesting. I am studying [insert programme] – do you have any employees with the same educational background as mine?”

    Work out more yourself and continue the conversation from here.

    Continue with the questions you have found during your research of the company – that way you demonstrate both that you are interested and that you have looked into the company and what it stands for.

    Just to make it absolutely clear: It is not a good idea to open the conversation with ”Well, what is it that you do?”

     

    Read about questions

Which fairs should I attend?

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    The Career Fair in Aalborg

    Every year you can meet a long list of companies and organisations at the Career Fair in Aalborg.

    next Career Fair is 28 april 2021 in Gigantium

    You can visit the fair as a student or graduate and you may find:

    • Student job
    • Internship
    • Project collaboration
    • Your first job

    In week 16 there is drop in CV feedback at AAU in Aalborg. Keep an eye on the event calendar for time and place, so that your CV can be ready for you to meet with the companies at the Career Fair.

    The Career Fair is organised in collaboration with AAU Match and The Career Days.

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    The Career Days (Karrieredagene) in Copenhagen

    The Career Days gives you every opportunity for a good start on your professional career – no matter if you are still studying or if you have already graduated.

    The Career Days in Copenhagen take place Friday, week 10

    At the Career Days you might find:

    • A student job
    • An internship
    • A project collaboration for your thesis
    • Your first full-time job

     

    Read about Karrieredagene

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    Career Fair Esbjerg

    Career Fair Esbjerg is for you if you wish to know more about career opportunities in Esbjerg and its environs.

    Career Fair Esbjerg takes place on the last Thursday in September

    At the fair you can:

    • Expand your professional network
    • Get to know the companies better
    • Perhaps find a job
    • Get more clarity on your future and career
    • Get professional guidance

     

    Read about Career Fair Esbjerg

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    Other fairs

    Around the country, there are many different fairs and events. For example:

    • The Career Days (Karrieredagene) besides Aalborg and Copenhagen, they are also organised in Aarhus and Odense
    • DSE Fair in Aalborg and in Lyngby
    • The Engineer’s (Ingeniørens) Job event in Aarhus and Odense (NB: The website is mainly in Danish – ask a friend or use Google Translate to find out more)
    • Syddansk Jobfair
    • Job fairs in the various municipalities (use google to find out more about the current options)
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    Other events and ''mini-fairs''

    Besides the big interdisciplinary fairs, there are also smaller study- or institute specific events about project collaborations, student jobs, internships, and employer branding. Here, the advice above are just as relevant as for the bigger fairs. A positive difference is, however, that the companies and organisations represented most likely are better informed about the competencies of the students they meet on such a day.

What should I do after the fair?

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    How can I follow up on the meeting?

    When you have attended the fair and spoken to some interesting companies or people, it is important, that you consider what to do next.

    • Is there anyone you should contact again?
    • Was it just a meeting that made you more certain or wiser on some aspects?
    • Are you going to collaborate with the company on a project, project-oriented course or maybe even a job of some sort?

     

    We recommend, that you reach out and conclude the meeting – if nothing else then by adding the person you were talking to on your LinkedIn in order to ensure that you are able to follow the person’s and company’s activities. If the meeting at the fair seemed it was meant for more than just a ’passive’ contact, there are more things you can do.

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    Should I connect on LinkedIn?

    LinkedIn is made to share knowledge and to form networks. Therefore, it is an obvious opportunity to follow the company and it also makes a lot of sense to connect with the person you have talked to and add them to your network.

    Write a message to the person in your request – it seems much more personal and less ”I just want a lot of people in my network”-like. You don’t have to write a novel; just say that you talked at the fair, and that what she/he was doing sounded interesting. The purpose is that you get to have people in your network who can help you get wiser. Perhaps you even discover other interesting people and companies as your network expands.

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    Do they really bother to share their experiences?

    Most people like to share their experiences! If you have had a really good talk at the fair, it might be so that the person you talked to would like and has the time to be a sparring partner either academic or personal in relation to your career.

    Don’t ask for anything but ask about their work and their competencies – most people like to share their experiences.

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    What should I talk to them about?

    As with any other business, you need to have something on your mind – something, that is relevant for the company to talk about as well. If you talked about issues, changes, obstacle, or something else that the company is facing at the fair, you now have a really good place to begin a further dialogue.

    Be aware, that if you initiate a dialogue it will be with a clear value for the company and therefore it will not feel as ”pushy” when you call or write the person or another employee at the company.

Virtual fairs – what should I be aware of?

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    Is preparation necessary when it is virtual?

    Virtual fairs are a little different from "regular" physical fairs, but much is also the same.

     

    And yes: you have to research and prepare thoroughly to get something out of it ... completely like a "regular" event.

    • Find out who you want to talk to
    • Familiarize yourself with who they are
    • Prepare some questions for them
    • Prepare to tell them about yourself and what you can do for them
    • Consider what is important for you to highlight
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    What's important when it's a chat?

    Pay attention to your language. When it's on chat, your language is your appearance. So that's what leaves a picture of who you are with the company.

    Be professional but personal.

    So think twice about how you formulate yourself and what words you use – and double check for typos.

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    What if video conference is possible?

    Seize the opportunity for a video conference if you get it!

    Some students are nervous about turning on the camera, but companies really want to see you and talk with you in a more personal way. It's hard to make an impact when it's on chat, so the chance to do it on video paves the way for you to give the company a better impression of who you are. They will remember you afterwards.

    It can be transgressive, but you are there to network!

    • Think about how you look - wash your hair, polish your glasses and put on some nice clothes that you feel comfortable in
    • Sit in a location with a nice and quiet background
    • Avoid locations with noise
    • Test the camera and sound in advance
    • Use a headset if it provides better sound

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research

Where can I find relevant jobs? Which jobsites can be a help? How else can I find inspiration for places to search for job and internships?

Where can I look for jobs?