European Funds

Michaela Donath

A former Opel employee and participant in the Job Speed Dating programme reports on the opportunities offered by this measure

I'm glad I got the chance to show what I am capable of.

My name is Michaela Donath, I am 38 years old, I started my apprenticeship as an energy electronics technician at Adam Opel AG in 1994 and successfully completed it in 1998. In the following 17 years, I got to know many different areas and departments in the company, from body shop to final assembly to final car assembly.

When the company stopped production in Bochum at the end of 2014, I entered the transfer company. After some consideration, I knew that I would like to work in the office. Through TÜV NORD Transfer, I was then able to brush up on my MS Office skills and train to become an accounting specialist.

After I hadn't really been successful with my applications so far, my transfer advisor asked me if I would be interested in taking part in Job Speed Dating (JSD). Since it sounded interesting, I attended the info session and signed up. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to talk to employers directly.

I never thought that the following four course modules would prepare me so well for the JSD. Besides the short profile and CV we worked on, we learned a lot: "hard and soft skills", non-verbal communication, words that are taboo in an interview, and much more. I liked module 4 best. Here we lost our fear and inhibitions about introducing ourselves (job interview) and presenting ourselves (the "ME" brand) through role play. After each presentation there was a "manoeuvre critique". Here, everyone in the group could share their impressions of the presentation, e.g. what they particularly liked or what they could possibly still work on. This was recorded for better self-awareness. I didn't like this point in particular at the beginning, but in the end it really helped to bring the presentation, our posture and the non-verbal into a fluid and orderly flow.

Now we come to the most important part, the actual JSD. Here we had the opportunity to meet 40 companies, talk to them and introduce ourselves. Since I hadn't had an interview up to this point, I saw this as my big chance. Maybe you can convince them in a direct conversation - e.g. with your charisma or manner. We didn't have any information about the companies and neither did they have any about us. Directly before the interviews, we received a list. The list showed which table was offering which job in which city (area). I chose five tables and it was a very pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. I had very good conversations. Of the five companies, three wanted to contact me in the coming days. So I was very satisfied with the day and the result. The companies also kept their word and contacted me. One company invited me to a "real" job interview. I was very happy about that. The interview went very well and now I'm doing my initial training there. It was the right decision for me and I am glad that I got the chance to show what I can do. Without the good preparation and the opportunity of the JSD, this would not have been possible.