Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Job Hunting? The Career and Job Fair Sc gives you some advice

Meeting of the Career and Job Fair
What is the objective of the Career and Job Fair subcommittee?

Our subcommittee's main goal is to help identify career opportunities for stagiaires during their Traineeship Program, to inform them of employers needs and requirements, and to help match stagiaires with potential employers. The activities organised by the Committee should eventually enable stagiaires to improve crucial skills such as networking, how to act during job interviews and CV and cover letter writing.

What have you organised so far and which activities are you currently working on?

The most immediate activity that we are preparing at the moment is the Job Fair, which is the biggest and most important event organised by the Career and Job Fair subcommittee. It will be held next Wednesday the 18th January in the Charlemagne building, with Panel discussions, Workshops (The art of writing a cover letter; Networking) and on-site interviews taking place throughout the day.

And very soon we will organise the "Speed-dating" with officials, which could be a fun way to have a meeting between stagiaires and officials in the various Commission DGs during an appropriate timing (for ex. lunchtime). It could be organised in cooperation with the porte-paroles of the various DGs. The past activities that we organised consisted of: A Survey, in which the stagiaires provided information about their background, career prospects, interests, as well as their preferences for the Fair exhibitors. A CV-book has been created by compiling stagiaires’ CVs and which will be provided to companies participating in the Job Fair. An Interview workshop, in which companies specialised in staff recruiting and representatives of different DGs were simulating on-site interviews in order to give us some tips on how to prepare for and act during a job interview. Andras Baneth, expert on EU competitions organised by EPSO and author of Europe's no.1 bestseller book on EU exams, gave also to us some tips on how to get an EU job. And, last but not least, we offered to the trainees the possibility of getting a good deal for business cards and in order to use them in the Job Fair and other events the stagiaires might be attending before the traineeship ends.

How many stagiaires are involved in the Career and Job Fair subcommittee?

The Career and Job Fair subcommittee counts already 54 members. Around ten of them form the core of the Committee, being the responsible officers for the several activities, as well as the two treasurers, communication officers and secretaries.

What have been the main challenges?

Organisational Chart of the Career and Job Fair subcommittee
The Career and Job Fair subcommittee is working upon a voluntary basis to offer to all the trainees the above explained activities during the period of our traineeship. Thus, first of all the members had acquired a commitment and a heavy involvement with this subcommittee. We work as a team and by doing that we have faced the challenges that an interdisciplinary and multicultural environment implies. That has offered to the team-members the possibility of getting to know how to organise and coordinate our different skills to achieve our shared goals. It has been also a very enriching experience to get knowledge on the protocols and requirements that setting up an event within the European institutions demands, particularly in terms of logistics and communication. It has been also important to develop our ability to present information effectively and advertise it through the different available communication channels with the target of motivate and attract our fellow stagiaires to participate in the activities we have been organising. And finally, we also gained experience on how to approach to companies and attract them to collaborate in the activities we have been preparing.

Was there any particular achievement?

The best reward that we could have is that our fellow trainees are satisfied with the different activities we have set up to now, either by helping them to improve their professional skills for job hunting or ideally by assisting them finding a job through the Job Fair.

Could you describe the Job Fair Event that you are currently preparing?

The Job Fair is the biggest event organised by the EC stagiaires Career Subcommittee. Its main purposes are to help fellow stagiaires to identify career opportunities, to optimise their skills and qualifications, and, ideally, to match stagiaires with potential employers, represented by our carefully selected companies and organisations. The Job Fair usually takes place twice a year, in the Charlemagne premises. This year it will be held on the 18th of January, room Alcide de Gasperi. The Fair will start at 11 am with short presentations of the companies, followed by several workshops and panel discussions. After lunch, and in parallel with the stand exhibitions, real job interviews will be held until 6.30 pm, in time for the official closure and networking cocktail. Around 400 stagiaires from all European Institutions are expected.

Could you give some hints regarding job hunting for current stagiaires?

Prepare a nice CV.

ii. Search in the different job platforms available for you in Brussels, Belgium and abroad (Eurobrussels, EurActiv, Eures, etc.), use your contacts to ask about job vacancies, visit the job opportunities websites of the different international organisations, attend Job Fairs.

iii. Understand the requirements of the job you are applying for. Study the minimum requirements and the selection criteria and think of your past or current work experience or qualifications which are related in order to write a a convincing cover letter highlighting your skills.

iv. If you get an appointment for an interview, prepare yourself beforehand by researching the criteria and the corporate philosophy of the enterprise and by learning as much as you can about the Department and Office you are applying to and the work it does.

v. Be ready to discuss your strengths and your ability to learn from past experiences. Also think about how you could contribute to the work of the Organisation and to the specific position you are applying for.

vi. Practice your answers, although there is no set format that each interview follows, prepare answers to some of the most common questions about strengths and weaknesses.

vii. Stay calm. Good preparation is the key to staying in control. Remember that your interviewers are just normal people!

viii. Ask questions about anything that is unclear about the position. The interview is your chance to ask all of your questions.

By the Career and Job Fair Subcommittee