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HR practitioner reveals how blowing off ‘boring’ university career talks could cost you

You are walking out of class with your friends and you notice that the University Career Development Programme has advertised a career talk on Friday afternoon.

On the poster, they have indicated that several companies will be present during the two-hour after class session.

You are conflicted. Attending the session could be beneficial to you, especially since you are in fourth year. On the other hand, you and your friends had planned to attend a much hyped gig in town.

So, do you forgo the hang out and attend the function?

Accomplished Human Resource practitioner, Wangari Kibanya, would strongly advise you and other campus students to attend the career talk.

“Those talks that are given on how to write your CV and how to go on the job hunt are very critical in job searching. The youth should learn to take advantage of such opportunities,” she advised.

Often, talks from people who are currently practicing in your field bridge the gap between the classroom and the market.

The former Wananchi Group HR director said that job hunting is an exhausting process for students and recruiters alike. So, sometimes HR officers use college career programmes to recruit top talent directly from the campus.

“Sometimes employers make the career offices their first point of call because they may not have the time to go to an entire department to look for the best suited candidate for an available position. They will always co-ordinate with the career offices,” Ms Kibanya said.

During university career development programmes, you could learn of openings and opportunities within certain companies. If you are proactive, you could use this to get your foot in the door.

“During a career fair, a company may come and announce that they are looking to grow their business. For example, they could mention that they are looking to expand their marketing department. So if you are in marketing, you could get an opportunity to intern under marketing – this could help you analyse your opportunities,” she said.

In a country where the supply of talent is much higher than demand, career talks could give you an advantage over other job seekers.

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