With “Next Step” as the theme for 2014, the CHARM job fair took place last week. Chalmers Studentkår Arbetsmarknadsdagar (CHARM) is a 2 day fair organized every year by voluntary students, who take care of absolutely everything, from contacting companies to carpeting extensive areas of floor (6020 m2, to be exact). This year it took place at the Student Union Building and V building in Chalmers, and had over 160 different companies as exhibitors.
Hundreds (or thousands!) of little red booklets were distributed all throughout the university some weeks before the event, and what a handy guide it was. In it, each exhibitor had a page with a short description, the kind of employment they were able to offer and the business areas they embarked in, as well as contact information in case you missed them at the fair!
However, my favorite parts of the booklet were the letters from Magnus Hallgårde, Project Manager; Johanna Svensson, President of the Student Union and Karin Markides, President of Chalmers University. Each of these, though different in style (and one including a picture with a lightsaber 😉 ), were encouraging the students to the same thing: being mindful about their next step. Even if we might not be sure about the whole panorama of how we want our future to look like, something as simple as deciding what our next immediate action can be is a step towards progress.
“You don’t climb a mountain by looking at the summit – but by identifying the next step”
“Take your next step by acting in the moment!”
There was also a short page giving practical tips on how to prepare yourself for the fair, and how to give a good impression to the companies.
My day at the fair started with a quick scan of the buildings, and trying to locate where the booths I was most interested in were. There was a wide array of companies dedicated to every area in technology, and as a civil engineer the ones on my list were 37! One could think that that could take a whole day, but actually the fair was easy to navigate and the expositors were ready to give immediate answers and information sheets. As a plus, they were also ready to give massive amounts of candy, an offer I couldn’t reject :p
At the same time, there were several lectures going on, and a whole area of the building dedicated to student entrepreneurship.
The best part of having direct contact with business representatives was, for me, the human factor. Talking to actual employees can give you an idea of the working environment in the companies, can lead to important contacts and gives you a more specific idea of the things you can look for in a determined company, as opposed to just reading from a website.
So after talking briefly to 30-something companies, being able to select which of these could offer things I’m interested in, eating some chocolate and actually getting motivation to pursue a summer job, I can say that from my point of view (and I’m sure from many others) the fair was a success. Kudos to the CHARM committee for all the hard work they had to do!