Annual Job Skills Seminar and Practice Interviews

During the semester break of 2012, the University of Auckland IEEE Student Branch held our two annual professional events: the Job Skills Seminar and Practice Interviews.

The Job Skills Seminar was held in the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th of June. The event was held in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland and was attended by 60-70 people. Most of the attendees were students within the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University. The event was free for all students, not only IEEE members.

The speakers for this event were Shaun Pulman from the University Careers Services and Trish Rees from Dignan Consulting Ltd. Topics covered included Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Cover Letters, Interview Preparation and Job Search Skills specific to engineers. The event taught students valuable life skills that would not be taught in regular classroom situations.

Shaun Pulman beginning his talk on CV and Cover Letters

Shaun Pulman spoke about creating an effective CV and cover letter, depending on the job or organization that is being applied for. This was done by providing examples of effective CV and cover letters written by others in the past. Trish Rees explained how to present one’s self for an interview and gave useful hints on how to search for jobs. This included subtle details which could make or break your interview.

Refreshments of pizza, chips and non-alcoholic beverages were supplied after the event for all those who attended. During this time, students were able to interact personally with our key-note speakers.

Just over a week later, on Friday the 6th of July, the Practice Interviews event was held. The break between the two events allowed students time to make full use of the topics covered in the Job Skills Seminar. As our flagship event of the year, this event was open only to our IEEE student members. The event was held on campus within various rooms of the Owen G. Glenn building. Attendees were comprised of over 65 student members from the IEEE Student Branch as well as 17 representatives from 14 different companies across the Engineering and IT industry.

A short break halfway through the day allowed for students and interviewers to mingle

The day involved a series of two mock interviews for each student who attended with the various industry representatives. These interviews were allocated by the choice of the student as to their preferred company. The first interview began at 2:00pm and each interview lasted about thirty minutes. Twenty minutes of each time slot was spent conducting the mock interview and ten minutes was given for the interviewer to provide the student with feedback on the interview and helpful critique of their CV.

At 5:30pm, following the final round of interviews, a catered evening function was held in the Neon Foyer of the Faculty of Engineering. This function was attended by the majority of student participants and also the industry representatives who had kindly given their time to perform the practice interviews.

The event was a great success and students and interviewers were very glad to be part of the proceedings as there were benefits of attending for both parties. Students were able to gain a first-hand interview experience with knowledgeable members of the industry. These interviewers were able to offer invaluable tips in interviewing for positions within the Engineering/IT industry and about how to improve a CV. These tips and tricks will surely have made the student attendees wiser in their endeavours to look for summer work or graduate positions in the industry. Furthermore, the interviewers who attended were able to promote their companies to the members of the student branch and make themselves known to the student body.

From positive feedback received after both events, it is clear that all participants found the events useful and enjoyable.