How to get the most out of a careers fair
Preparing for your uni careers fair is more important than you might think.
More than just an opportunity to pick up brochures and browse, you could bag yourself an interview for a grad job if you impress the employers you meet.
Maximise your chances of success with these 5 top tips.
Image source: Teeside University
1. Research participating employers beforehand
Find a guide for the careers fair and make a list of the employers you want to visit, in order of preference.
By visiting booths in priority order, rather than wandering around aimlessly, you’ll use your time more efficiently and ensure you get the most time with the companies you’re keen to work for.
2. Ask informed questions
Questions such as ‘what was your first year at the company like?’, ‘how would you describe the company culture?’ and ‘what experience do you like applicants to have?’ will yield invaluable knowledge about the company you might not have been able to find otherwise.
Enquiring about employees’ experiences will provide an insight into working life at the company you’ve chosen, while asking what recruiters are looking for can help you immensely in the application process.
3. Have a pitch
While you’re there to ask questions (and make sure you do!), you should also be prepared to answer some.
A prospective employer might want to know a bit about your background, qualifications, relevant experience and skills. Or they might ask you something as terrifying and non-specific as ‘Why should we consider you?’.
To prepare your answer to this, decide what your unique selling point (USP) is. What experiences or skills do you have that will help you stand out and spark the employer’s interest? Make sure you convey this.
4. Be friendly and professional
Being amicable and polite is important in all your interactions with employers.
Although be careful that your disposition isn’t over familiar or casual. Keep it professional by looking presentable (no need for business attire, smart casual is fine) and projecting a calm, confident and self-assured manner.
5. Expand your network
Pick up business cards and ask for the contact details of those employers you’re interested in.
This way, you can contact them after the fair with any follow-up questions, to send a CV or even to apply for a position.
Careers fairs can be a great opportunity to practice networking skills and gain useful contacts who may prove really helpful in your future job search.
A university careers fair can be a gateway to an interesting graduate job you’ve previously never heard of, or a way to find out more about that graduate scheme you’ve been eyeing up.
Even if you have no idea what you want to do, just having a look around a job fair might spark some ideas for you.
For tips on how to answer commonly asked questions from employers, watch our video guide below.