Careers today

Matching minds with suitable missions: Students poring over booklets on possible careers at the Fair and Lovely Career Fair.  

IF IT'S green, it's biology, if it stinks, it's chemistry, if it has numbers, it's math, if it doesn't work, it's technology," read a quip on the Science display at the two-day career fair organised by Fair and Lovely Foundation at Valluvar Kottam. Choosing careers may not be as simple, but the powder-pink display panels at the sprawling Valluvar Hall do their best to make it easier.

Crowds thronged around the exhibits, on an array of careers in a wide range of fields, from health care and bioscience to government and defence. While the `window shoppers' contented themselves by reading the catchy quips and quotes, the determined students furiously jotted down details of where and how to apply.

"There's something for everybody," said Anusha Ravi, a first-year student, who took down names of courses, while her father read aloud a quote by Thomas Huxley, `Science is nothing but trained and organised common sense.'

Counsellors conducted sessions on planning a career, testing aptitude, setting goals, writing resumes, participating in group discussion and taking interviews.

"The modern era provides many opportunities, but we don't come to know about them," said Mani G. Nath, a student of business administration from Thiruvananthapuram. He's now keenly considering switching to copywriting and advertising, an area he believes will allow him to explore his creativity. "Career fairs like this one, open up many possibilities," he said.

Final-year students at Ethiraj College, N. Sangeetha and Anita Vijaykumar, were at the career fair despite the conviction that `most career fairs are highly commercial ventures.' "So what if the organisers aim at selling fairness cream? It all depends on how we make use of the opportunity," they said.

Chennai is the final venue of the fair, which has travelled to 25 towns in Tamil Nadu over the past month and a half. "The response has been amazing, especially in rural areas, where the career fair has been the first experience of its kind for many students," said R. Madhumati, a counsellor with Foundation. The free booklets on various fields of careers with lists of contact numbers and addresses of colleges and universities have information in both English and Tamil.The stated aim of the Foundation is to `empower women,' by providing scholarships and career counselling and promoting entrepreneurship among women. The fair, however, was open to both young men and women.

The Foundation has catalogued all sorts of work including unusual professions such as training dogs, detective work, and practising Reiki, home-based careers in multi-level marketing, stain glass work, catering and freelance writing, and practical opportunities in call centres jobs, customer care and telemarketing.

If anything, it was a career fair where even the least `career-oriented' students could find their calling.

By Akhila Seetharaman

Photo: R. Ragu