Twice a year, Wageningen Campus is the place to be for a bustling Career Day for all the different study programmes. Student Career Services (SCS) organises this day to establish contacts between potential employers and employees. Due to the corona pandemic, the upcoming Career Day will take place online on 14 October because it is precisely this pandemic that makes it more challenging for students to find an internship or a job.
Student Career Services (SCS) helps WUR students and graduates in their search for a job or internship. The three SCS staff members note that students’ search is currently longer, as fewer positions are available due to the corona pandemic. Finding a position proves particularly challenging for international students. They often wish to remain in the Netherlands, but finding a job is difficult if their command of the Dutch language is insufficient. The upcoming Career Day, where businesses and students meet, is therefore certainly relevant and will take place as an online event.
‘We are not a recruitment agency, but we point students and businesses in the right direction; this works both ways’, manager Astrid van Noordenburg describes SCS’s work. She maintains contacts with 500 companies across the globe and intercedes on behalf of students and businesses for jobs and internships. Her colleagues help students with their resumé, job applications and LinkedIn (Career Support Officer Mik Paauw) or with their career and self-assessment to discover how they want their career to develop (Career Coach Elizabeth Oenema). The team strives to provide all students and graduates with excellent support in their career orientation and the transition from studying to working. The support offered is free of charge.
‘The current situation means we have fewer meetings with students at the office, but, on the other hand, the number of online contacts has increased. Fortunately, as finding a spot for an internship or thesis study definitely contributes to finding a job afterwards. Some 38% stays on to work’, says Astrid.
Facebook and Talk & Toast
During the corona crisis, SCS has become more active and more popular on Facebook. Approximately 2200 followers can check out the newly available job or internships openings daily, and are provided with valuable tips. New on this page is #WURCareerTalks. A student that has recently found a job or internship shares their story, how SCS helped, and provides tips. Astrid: ‘These WURCareerTalks are in English, which is our official language of communication so that we exclude no-one. We have posted five talks so far, and they were very popular. We also intend to professionalise further with an online Job Board, which students can access through the Student Portal, set to go live in the fall. Furthermore, SCS organises a variety of (online) career workshops on topics such as LinkedIn, networking and pitching. The calendar for these events will be posted online soon.
We are also considering whether we may be able to restart the Talk & Toasts within the corona measures. This is a small event during which one or two businesses present themselves, and that students can freely visit.’
Online Career Day
Career Day is a recurring event that normally attracts about 1000 students and businesses. ‘This turns out to be very efficient’, says Astrid. ‘The businesses are very satisfied, about 90% is a repeat attendant, and companies often recruit employees during Career Day. Among the feedback we received from previous editions are statements such as “An excellent chance to meet students”, and: “Many students with studies that match our organisation.”’
The coming Career Day will be held online, through the new Job Board. Students can sign up and upload their resumé. Businesses (entry fort he upcoming edition is closed) upload a profile and the type of candidates they seek. Astrid: ‘The companies hold online presentations and conduct interviews with students online. This year, approximately 35 businesses will attend, about half the number that would be present at a physical event. But, since it is our first time online, we wish to keep a good overview. Companies such as EFSA, Pouderoyen Tonnaer, Abbott Laboratories, Kraft Heinz, De Heus, Keygene, Limagrain and Tetra Pak have indicated they will attend. How we will continue in the future? For recruitment, face-to-face meetings are still best. Companies often seek a certain type of person that will fit in well. So, it’s often a search for a personal match, rather than a match on the grounds of expertise. So, I do hope we will be able to hold our next Career Day in 2021 as a physical event. However, for now, that remains to be seen.’