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3 ways a conference is a great step toward your first job

/ March 4, 2019

Conference Seating

Most universities offer spring and fall job fairs as a key career-starting strategy. Yet many students and employers walk away frustrated and disappointed by the experience. It’s no surprise when you look closely. In the few hours of a job fair, interactions are brief, hiring managers rarely attend, and no skills are developed. Consider another option — conferences.

Industry or vendor conferences are events that offer valued content to their existing and prospective audiences. Unsure about a business ecosystem? Attend a conference to learn more. You’ll gain an understanding of both the actual work and the various organizational cultures involved.

As a student, here are three key reasons why you should attend a conference to help secure that first job.

1. Your future hiring manager is likely in attendance

Conferences attract committed members of an industry, and with registration, travel and lodging, they can be a costly business expense.  This means that if an employer paid for an attendee, they are highly valued and a great person to meet. There is an excellent chance that your future hiring manager is at a conference. Conversely, there are few competing candidates allowing for more frequent and lengthier one-on-one conversations. The ratio is in your favor.

2. Your speaking points for interviews come straight from industry

Conferences are an opportunity to learn and network. You’ll learn more about the industry that you want to work in, and you’ll have the opportunity to not only meet your potential future hiring manager, but a range of people with different job roles. Attend a conference and you’ll leave with stronger story-telling answers to frequently asked interview questions such as, “Why xyz industry?” and “Why this company?” Your answers could start something like this:

Until last spring, I was unaware of the xyz industry. A professor I really respect suggested a conference and while intimidated, I went and found this exciting new world. One speaker in particular…

3. You’re proactive and strategic – traits employers love.

You sought the conference out, you paid to attend, and you arrived to learn and network. Attending a conference shows potential employers that you’re proactive, a learner, and a candidate worth meeting.

A well-run conference will recognize that allowing new graduates an opportunity to demonstrate skills will attract hiring employers.

Quality employers screen out those who are not proactive about their careers. By going to a conference, you show employers that you go above and beyond.

The Mendix University Program provides students free use of Mendix technology and training. This year, we’re offering FREE student admission to Mendix World 2019, the largest low-code conference, hosted at the Ahoy Rotterdam, NL, April 16-17. At Mendix World, you’ll witness a showcase of the top apps built by students in the classroom, at hackathons, and in their dorm rooms. This is a great opportunity for students to present their work, for you to learn what you can do with little to no programming experience, and another talking point to add to your list when talking with potential employers.

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