Maritime Energy and Technical Career Fairs
CAREER FAIRS - THE MOST USEFUL OR USELESS GATHERING FOR A JOBSEEKER ?
Romcrew team had different experiences with Maritime Career Fairs throughout the years. Some of our team members landed excellent jobs while other wasted their time at some point in their career. What are the secrets of being successful at such an event ?
We are not the holders of the truth but we might have some good insights for those who are not sure if a Career Fair is worthwhile. Nowadays, recruitment in the Maritime Sector faces dynamic changes, with tech companies doing their best to undermine Recruitment Agencies while making promises we are not sure they can keep. Who is to say if an algorithm will ever find a job for a fresh graduate of a Naval Academy or fresh Naval Engineer looking for his first experience in a Shipyard.
Geolocation and searchable databases are a big leap forward and here at Romcrew, we use that at full potential. But we don't rely on algorithms to judge if a CV is good or bad for a certain job. Regardless of how good an application form is, there is absolutely no way of telling who will show up for the job, and that is simply a fact that Shipping Companies and Principals cannot take into consideration.
Romcrew believes that the place of the Recruitment Consultant in the Maritime World is very important and we encourage candidates to network and build connections in this sector. There are studies that suggest that up to 60% of people in their current roles assumed these through effective networking. We think there is no better way to really connect with another person than face-to-face. This way you have a change to highlight your relevant skill set.
Luckily, in the Maritime Sector, Career Fairs are often, and chances are, that a well prepared candidate will make a good impression and be given his first interview.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF CAREER FAIRS
1. Make your research
Know why you are there. Career fairs have a huge range of benefits and must be a part of your career planning. However, if you don’t even know what the point of being there is, or what recruiters you could talk to, you’re wasting your time.
Some great companies are filling 90% of their vacancies at career fairs. We can give examples but we don't want this article to be misunderstood. Make some research on big Cruise Lines and see how they tend to meet all their on-board requirements at these events.
Read the fair guide – find out which companies are coming and make a shortlist of those you would most like to visit.
Familiarize yourself with company websites. This will help you later on when you come to meet the employer; don't waste time asking things that a basic search online will answer.
If you are well informed and well prepared, this will pay off when you talk to the employer. Skipping over the general info means you can potentially find out information they haven't included in the brochure.
Questions you might want to ask :
- What are the trends within the industry ? And then, what particular job path do you recommend ? What kind of specialists would you company need 5 years from now ?
Few could have sensed for example the fall in the oil price in 2015, and you couldn't expect from an Oil & Gas employer to tell you a frightening story, but doing your research must be the first thing you do before considering any career option.
Questions to avoid :
- What does your company do? How much would I earn? What can you offer me?
Many exhibitors will bring some of their recent graduate intake who will be able to give you a different opinion on the job and the company. Don't waste the opportunity!
2. Dress appropriately
First impressions are important. You will probably be most comfortable if you at least dress in "business casual". Employers notice details; some complain about wrinkled ties, scuffed shoes, or inappropriate jewelry.
Remember that this is a networking opportunity. As a job seeker, you should collect as many business cards as possible and make a good first impression everywhere you go. Then, when it's time to apply for an open position, you can stand out by making a reference to that connection in your introduction email.
3. Networking done properly
Be prepared to answer questions about yourself. Some employers open the conversation with: “Tell me about yourself.” Be prepared to state your name, a brief statement about yourself, and why you’re interested in the organization you’re talking to.
If you're a nervous networker, see this as an opportunity to practice your skills. Set your attention on one or two employers you want to speak to and have some questions prepared from home. When you inquire about the possibility of talking with additional managers, take notes. Write down the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organization whom you can contact later.
Apply online prior to speaking to an employer you target at a job fair. It is a HUGE advantage.
4. Always follow up
You went to a Career Fair and you managed to make a great first impression to a number of Hiring Mangers. WELL DONE ! But that is not all. Use the connections you gained that day to build a relationship on the long term. NEVER look for short-term gains !
Following days: Send them a follow up email, add them on LinkedIn, write a job application if the company has some positions online and then contact directly the person you met at the career fair. Try to gain something out of sincere exchange of ideas. Maybe you found something at that career fair, that 99% of the other candidates that fight on your spot don't know. Use that. But do it wisely. If you go too far, you might end up doing more harm than good to your career.
Job fairs get the candidate right in front of the company and, if executed correctly, that can get them closer than just applying online.
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