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Viktoria Bors-Pajuste
Viktoria Bors-Pajuste

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Maximizing Your Potential: How to Prepare for Career Fairs as a Junior Developer

With career fairs and meet-ups just around the corner, have you considered how you will differentiate yourself and leave a lasting impression on recruiters and potential colleagues? What approach do you plan to take?

Attending these events can be overwhelming, especially if you're not well-prepared. I will share some tips on how to stand out and make the most of these events as a junior developer or student.

Research Participating Companies and Prepare Questions

Before the event, research the participating companies and identify the ones you're most interested in. Take the time to learn about their products, services, and company culture.

This will not only help you decide which companies to approach, but it will also help you prepare questions that demonstrate your interest and knowledge.

Prepare a list of specific questions for the companies you're interested in, such as:
• What do you expect from new hires?
• What kind of training and development opportunities do you offer?

In addition to preparing questions for specific companies, also prepare some general questions that you can ask any company you come across. These can include:
• Tell me about your work culture.
• What kind of technologies do you use?
• How does your company approach software development?

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief summary of who you are, what you do, and what you're looking for. It should be short and sweet, and it should showcase your skills and experience. Practice your pitch before the event so you feel confident and natural when you deliver it.

Follow Up and Network

Make sure to follow up with the individuals you met at the event by sending a thoughtful message through LinkedIn or email thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in keeping in touch. It's important to connect with them on LinkedIn and remain engaged by commenting on their posts or sharing industry-related articles.

If you were unable to speak with a representative from a particular company, be sure to take their contact card and connect with them afterward. This is a great opportunity to ask any remaining questions you may have.

Bring a Well-Written CV or Business Card

This particular point can be quite divisive. While some may argue that bringing a physical copy of your CV is no longer necessary since everything can be found online, I believe that as a junior developer, it's important to demonstrate your passion and leave a lasting impression on potential employers. While a typical A4 CV may not necessarily stand out among the hundreds of others, there are still ways to differentiate yourself. For instance, you could optimize your CV in A5 size or in the style of a "birthday" card, or consider a well-designed, high-quality business card.

Personally, I decided to bring a business card to events that reflects the design of my portfolio page. On the front of my card, I feature my unique logo and skillset, and on the back, I provide my contact information and a QR code that links to my webpage.

Front of my business card

In conclusion, career events, fairs, and meetups are great opportunities for junior developers to learn about new technologies, network, and explore job opportunities. By doing your research, preparing your elevator pitch and following up with the people you meet, you'll be able to make the most of these events and stand out from the crowd.

Good luck!

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