Making the Most of Careers Fairs

Careers fairs will normally welcome both graduates and students at any level of study.

They are a great place to:

  • Check out the range of jobs on offer to graduates
  • Gather information on particular industries
  • Find out how to apply to a particular scheme or meet a prospective employer
  • Find placements or summer internships

Don’t just turn up to careers fairs unprepared. A bit of military planning before the event can really help you make the most of it. Read on for our tips about how to make the most out of recruitment fairs and make the right impression with prospective employers on the day.

Be Prepared

For most recruitment fairs you can normally get hold of a list of exhibitors prior to the event. Get online and check out any of the companies that interest you. Have a good look at the graduate opportunities on offer and see if there are any questions you might be able to ask the employer on the day.

Don’t forget that companies who specialise in one area such as marketing or engineering are still likely to offer positions for graduates in other areas of the business such as HR or finance.

Fairs tend to be busiest around lunch time so going early in the day or mid afternoon may give you a better chance to have a one on one chat with a prospective employer and really make an impression. Don’t risk leaving it too late though, many employers travel across the country to attend fairs and may leave earlier then scheduled.

Make an Impression

Some people choose to dress smartly and might even don a suit and tie whilst others turn up in there full casual attire. You want an employer to remember you for your enthusiasm and interest rather than the fact that your jeans hang half way down your backside or you’ve got more bling than Goldie Looking Chain.

Our advice would be to find an outfit that’s more conservative and not too over the top. Look clean and presentable with smart accessories (a watch is always a good touch) and keep the make up and hair understated but styled.

When you meet a recruiter make eye contact, introduce yourself, tell the employer what you’re currently studying and what you want to do next then ask them about opportunities in their company.

It’s unlikely that they’ll ask you too much about yourself. They might tell you what they expect from graduates and the kind of skills they value in their employees. Take a note of these as it could be helpful in case you choose to apply later.

Throughout the conversation make sure you answer any questions clearly and confidently, ask as many questions as possible to show you’re interested.

End the conversation by taking away any relevant information and make sure you know how to apply. Also make sure you have contact details of the representative or the central HR manager so you can follow up with any further questions or to thank the employer for his help.

Follow Up

After the fair have a look at all the information you’ve gathered and figure out which employer’s schemes you’re interested in investigating further. Have a look at the companies you’ve chosen, check out there websites to find out more about what they do, the applications process and any deadline dates you need to be aware of.

If you managed to obtain any contact details follow up with any further questions you have about the scheme or the application process.

If any of the conversations you’ve had with employers highlight the need for work experience or involvement in University societies think about ways you can gain the experience you’re looking for.