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University of New York in Prague career fair

by Ross Kennerley

In an increasingly growing environment where the demand for talented employees is at an all-time high, the benefit of career fairs is hugely beneficial to both companies and potential workers. This applies to the Czech Republic more than other nations due to its European record-low unemployment rate of 3.1%.

Ekaterina Kokkalou is the student affairs manager at the University of New York in Prague and has been looking to change the way career fairs are run, for the benefit of companies and students alike.

“I really believe in order to make a successful career fair you need to involve students because other than that you are making something from top down and none of us like this kind of event,” said Ekaterina.

“One thing we did drastically different this year were the company workshops, they were not only about presenting the company, but teaching the students valuable skill sets from a professional perspective,” added Ekaterina.  As a result all participating companies wanted to have workshops as well as a stand at the fair, when students can learn something and then apply what they’ve learnt the same day or following day this is an added value for all involved. One example of these topics was CV writing, a fundamental requirement for students looking for possible employment through not only the career fairs but throughout their working lives.

“The success of the workshops shows that when you engage students from the beginning, it works. Many of the companies presented were also represented by our Alumni now working there. When they are engaged and they see that it is students/alumni who are organizing it, they feel more comfortable.”

There are collaborations in terms of job opportunities and internships with the participating companies. The amount of companies applying to take part in the career fairs is very high, which symbolizes the growing importance of events such as these.

This year we had more than 25 top local and international firms presenting workshops, or being present at the fair over the four day long career week

“We don’t charge anything for this, it is all for free as the only purpose is to benefit the students,” said Ekaterina.

“In terms of the companies, we only take companies who have jobs and internships they can offer to our students right now. All the incoming companies are aware of our majors so there are no companies that we cannot satisfy. All the jobs presented are applicable for the students.”

While there are no exact goals with the career fair in regards to how many students are expected to take jobs with the companies, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

“We want to show the students that with this education they can be employed on the spot or at least make an appointment for an interview on the spot,” said Ekaterina.

Even more evidence of the success of the fairs is the returning of previous students and alumni with their own companies looking for employees. When returning students and alumni attend the fairs looking for more exciting talent, it cements further the quality of the education on offer. One such company is Keastone.

Keastone is a software service that is going to provide all software application services into one interface. With two former students fronting their desk at the fair, they returned looking for capable individuals to join their team.

“We want to find some talented students, we have some meetings set up, we’re looking for bright interns who can help move us forward and this career fair is the perfect place,” a spokesperson for the company said.

The next University of New York in Prague career fair will take part in early November., Prague 26.04.2017 

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