Weeks before the virtual fair, the booklets about the fair were put out at campus. These booklets had brief descriptions about the companies that we could meet, which positions they offered to students (summer jobs, internships, full-time jobs) and their contact information.
Before the virtual fair time came, we were told to enter the CHARM 2021 website and create a user account. We got to fill out our interests, past experiences, and educational information. Thus, company employees could check our profiles and make offers to the candidates they thought were suitable. On the other hand, each company also had its own profile. When you browsed these profiles, you could see what time they were going to make a presentation, and for which positions you could apply to the company for a job. In addition, companies were offering one-on-one online meetings with some of their employees by making an appointment in advance to have more efficient interviews. You could also message them on this platform.
After creating my own account, I started to like the companies I was interested in. With my background in Applied Mechanics, I was looking for summer jobs or internships in structural designs or analysis of vehicles like aircraft, seacrafts and automobiles.
The companies had pages similar to those on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. Afterward, I planned which presentations and one-on-one online meetings I could attend. I have noted the positions I could apply for. It surprised me that some of the job postings that I had not seen on the websites of companies were only published on this platform. One of the best things about the fair was that a project leader contacted me by messaging me directly on the platform. They said that my profile matched their positions to a great extent and asked if I wanted to meet with them. After that, I reviewed the postings which was an internship in my field, solid and fluid mechanics analysis and computations, and applied for the position they were offering. I also thought that if I would do this internship, then I can see the problems or methods in the industrial applications that could be helpful to me to determine my thesis topic next year. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Being able to get together with leading companies in their field, asking their employees about their experiences, and getting to know the company better was one of the best investments I made myself in the time of COVID (after learning how to bake bread at home). On the other hand, many parts of the world are having difficulty finding jobs due to the pandemic has raised questions in my mind for a while. During my meetings with companies at CHARM, I was able to ask them these questions. How did they work in pandemic time (they mostly worked remotely and followed pandemic regulations and restrictions), will there anything to change in their companies for the time for the new normal life (some companies realized that working remotely was more efficient and were considering switching to this practice some days of the week after the pandemic).
In its 46-year history, CHARM was hosted digitally for the first time this year due to the pandemic. Admittedly, I was initially concerned about how this would happen and whether it would be fruitful for me. As a matter of fact, I have seen that the process is managed very smartly, even if it was conducted online. And I am already looking forward to what opportunities we will see at CHARM next year.