Can Attending a Careers Fair Help Get You a Job? Xueting Su’s Story
We often talk about how helpful careers fairs can be to kick-starting your career, but can they actually help you land a job? For Xueting Su, the answer was yes.
We had a chat with her about her career journey so far, and the advice she has for other UTS students looking to get a head start on their careers.
So Xueting, who are you?
I am an upcoming graduate studying a Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Electrical. I decided to choose the engineering field because I am passionate about learning how things work and felt inspired knowing that engineers constantly strive to innovate and build better solutions that transforms people’s lives.
Outside of studying, what do you do? What’s a typical ‘day in the life’ for you?
I am currently working at John Holland NSW Rail Services as a Signalling Graduate Engineer. A typical weekday for me involves a significant amount of planning for upcoming projects, which includes the preparation and compilation of documents. As our projects are mainly delivered during weekend possessions, my weekend days are much more practical and interesting. This field experience has helped me gain a clearer understanding of the technical aspects in delivering the project scope.
What an interesting line of work! How did you get to where you are now?
I began my career at John Holland as an Undergraduate Engineer in the field of Signalling late last year. My journey in receiving the offer for this position started with a casual conversation with the John Holland stall representative at the Careers Fair. I introduced myself, told them what I am studying and expressed my strong interest in acquiring an internship opportunity or joining a graduate program within the company. After that, I was offered an interview with the signalling manager, and a month later I was contacted by the recruiter who informed me that they were happy to offer me an Undergraduate Engineer role at that time, since I have not yet officially graduated.
During my internship, as I had zero experience in Signalling. I took the initiative to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible, reading recommended texts and shadowing my supervisor in weekend works. After seeing my dedication to improving myself, my supervisor directly recommended me as a candidate for the graduate program. This allowed me to “skip” the normal recruitment procedures – e.g. assessment centres and interviews – a typical applicant would face before receiving a job offer.
What about your experience at UTS helped prepare you for your current role?
During my time at UTS, I attended the Engineering, IT and Construction Careers Fairs as they gave me opportunities to connect with industry representatives and discover what career path I wanted to pursue.
Also, during my degree I had two particular subjects which were helpful in acquiring my job: Engineering Practice Preview 1 & 2 (EPP1 & EPP2). They were very helpful for me in preparing and refining my resume, cover letters and interview responses.
Having an electrical background also definitely helped me in understanding the circuits and controls used in railway systems.
Most of all, consistently working hard has paid off in the long run, allowing me to develop the skills and knowledge to get to the position I am in today.
What piece of advice would you give to other students who are looking to work in your field?
Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to stall representatives at the career fairs. Often times, they’re very nice and helpful. Just go for it because there’s nothing to lose!
Sometimes, you might even get an email that you can directly contact to send your application through to, which can increase your chances of standing out. (And if you want to do exactly what I’m doing, it’s okay if you don’t know anything about signalling, since it is a field that is rarely talked about in electrical engineering, particularly at university).
Interested in getting your industry start? Why not do what Xueting did and come along to one of the upcoming Careers Fairs! Held on Wednesday 17 July, the Engineering, IT and Construction Careers Fair and the Internship and Graduate Careers Fair are THE places to meet with employers interested in UTS students. Register today via the links above!
By Mia Casey