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What you should know about the Reverse Career Fair

September 27, 2021

 My name is David Akinyemi. I’m in my 4th year of the Mechatronics Engineering program in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Student standing in front of a booth displaying workWhat motivated you to participate and attend the Reverse Career Fair? 

The aspect of me being able to showcase some of the things that I’ve gotten the chance to work on in a very detailed sense that’s much bigger than a resume alone was the first thing that appealed to me. That made me very excited because employers got to see my personality and how I speak and how I could have a conversation with them and properly communicate my ideas. Secondly, I got a chance to put a face to the name as they say, which I really loved. Thirdly, it gave me the chance to see other people’s projects that they were working on.

How can you set yourself up for success at the Reverse Career Fair?

A great way is to do a lot of research into the companies that are going to be there. Also, just be authentic, people can really tell and see that you’re putting your best foot forward no matter how big or small. Even if it was something little you did like a class lab or project, the very fact that you can talk about it passionately goes a very long way. Practicing is also a major part as well as being very relaxed and confident goes a massive way for you. Also, having a lot of questions prepared beforehand goes a long way because it shows that you’re curious and interested in what they have to offer. People always tend to notice those who ask good questions.  

Any tips for creating your presentation? 

One thing I did the first time was that I made two different presentations. Now, this isn’t necessarily something that everyone has to do, but I made what I call professional and personal presentations. The professional one I made sure that I outlined what year I was in, the courses I was taking, my projected graduation date, as well as what I was looking for which was a very important part because it makes HR’s job very easy when they’re communicating with you. Now on the personal side, many people are really open to looking at your behavioural characteristics or your personality traits to see if you’ll be a good fit for their working environment. So, it’s good to talk about your previous experiences and extra-curricular activities you’ve been involved in. Kind of by painting a story with it, the idea isn’t necessarily to state every single thing that you’ve done with the hopes of impressing someone with how much you do, the idea is to show them a trend of things you tend to get involved in. So if you're very big on volunteering, it’s not just about talking about how you’ve been a Peer Leader, that you worked in various charities, and repeatedly stating things. The key part is explaining what you were able to contribute in those environments. 

In what ways has the Reverse Career Fair altered your mindset/perspective on interviewing and job searching?

Before, I used to think that everything had to be very technical and that people only look at your hard skills. Hard skills are like maybe you know how to program, you’ve used a particular software, or you’ve done a certification. Soft skills are like your leadership and communication skills. I thought that it was just your hard skills that they were looking out for but, maybe it’s the modernization of interview processes where nowadays they look at your soft skills just as equally. I got to see that everyone is actually really nice, I always had this impression of domineering figures that wanted to screen everyone who came in and pick and choose the person they wanted but, they’re usually very friendly and genuinely want to help people reach their career goals. 

What advice would you give to someone considering participating in the Reverse Career Fair?

Create a list 

It would be a good idea to have a short list of the companies that are coming and that are specifically related to the industry or field that you’re studying because you don’t want to waste your time going to a place that isn’t related to what you want to do. It would also be good to identify a handful that you’d really love to work for because, at the end of the day, you’re really trying to find places that you can see yourself in for your career development. 

Do some deep research 

As I said, it would be a good idea to do a lot of deep research into those companies, see what their working culture is like. Maybe if you want to, try to connect with some of the people that work there on LinkedIn just to get an idea of what they do and what it’s like to be in that environment so you can have some current trends or topics to talk about. For example, projects that the company is working on, what their vision is, what everyone is working towards in the next 5 years, etc. That’s something that you might catch a glimpse of on their website but there are certain things that you’ll learn only if an insider tells you. 

Come prepared with questions 

Coming with a good number of questions that you can ask, again I cannot emphasize that enough. Everyone always notices that person who has really good questions that causes them to stop and think. There’s nothing wrong with asking the general questions that people may ask like maybe, “What are the positions you offer?” or “Do you hire co-op students?”. Of course, you should ask those questions because they’re very important, but maybe asking them a deeper question like, “What impacts are you truly trying to make in the environment?” or “What has been your best experience about working here in the past 5 years?”. Something that causes them to stop, think, notice you, and spiral into a much deeper conversation will be very beneficial. 


Hi, my name is Arth, and I'm an Ontario Tech graduate.

What motivated you to participate and attend the Reverse Career Fair? 

Being an international student, I was looking for a good job opportunity after completing my studies. I got my Master’s and after that, I was looking for work and found that this would be a good opportunity for me to collaborate and get to know these companies, how they work, how to make contacts, and get to know people. As well as the work culture, I’m from India so apart from some internships I didn’t have much experience in the professional world so I wanted to get to know people and how they work over here.  

Did you find the Reverse Career Fair beneficial?

Right now I’m working so I would consider myself successful and say it worked out really well for me. I found this company that I’m currently working at as a Project Engineering Intern. So I can rate my experience as a 10/10.  I’m getting to learn new things from manufacturing to quality aspects and everything that I want to learn about, I'm currently learning over here so that’s the best part of the job. 

Any tips for creating your presentation? 

To keep it short and simple, you don’t need to elaborate or speak for a long time. I owe my presentation skills to Ontario Tech. My presentation skills were not very good, I used to make 23 slides long presentations just for 10 minutes. I’ve learned it’s better to be to the point instead of circling around your point. 

In what ways has the Reverse Career Fair altered your mindset/perspective on interviewing and job searching?

I’m not the type of person to approach people but, the Reverse Career Fair gave me a platform to talk to employers. It gave me the motivation to talk to others. The university also has resources to practice interview questions, make resumes, and stuff like that. 

What advice would you give to someone considering participating in the Reverse Career Fair?

Target the companies that you feel align with your passions and likes. Don’t go for the companies or packages they offer just for the name. For example, the company I work for is a shadow player in the automotive industry. It's not as big as GM. If you’re not interested in it don’t go for it, but if you are, you should go for it! Learning is much more important than wherever you go.

Check out the Reverse Career Fair

By David and Arth