Last week I attended my first careers fair. I’m a second year now, it’s time to get serious.
The fair was focused mainly around graduates but I attended for the possibility of placement opportunities. A lot of organisations were in attendance with the majority being law firms. Only a minority were able to talk about PR and comms departments which was quite disappointing.
I didn’t leave the fair empty handed as I now have enough pens to last until graduation. Placement deadlines are looming and I need to get an urgent move on if I want to get a good one!
Here are some tips on how to ‘boss’ a careers fair! I’m trying my best with the scouse lingo, forgive me.
Know Why You’re There
Are you there to get a job or ask about work experience? To pick up information leaflets? For the free pens? Or are you there to get out of class for an afternoon? Think about why you’re attending and what you hope to get out of the careers fair. Once you have a clear plan of action, you’ll get the most out of attending.
Find out what companies are going to be at the careers fair. Pick out the ones that interest you most and research them. Get a prior insight into what it is they do and the services they offer. Prepare questions for the company representatives. Has the company been in the news recently? Having relevant questions ready will show them your professionalism and help you stand out. Don’t ask questions that can be easily answered on their website. Your time with the representatives will be short, impress them!
Update Your CV and Bring it Along
Some (few) recruiters at careers fairs will accept CV’s for potential employment. Having your CV can also be a talking point and help you in explaining previous work experience along with skills and qualities you possess. There may also be stalls offering advice on perfecting your CV so do your best to take advantage of these.
Present Yourself Well
Consider the careers fair as the pre-interview phase. Dress smartly and act professionally. First impressions are everything and recruiters will be conscious of how you present yourself.
Beat the Queues
Arrive early when the careers fair will be quiet. You will benefit from having longer encounters with the representatives and recruiters. And the earlier you arrive the more likely the representatives won’t be tired of repeating the same jargon to the same questions.
Show your independence and that you didn’t just come because your friend dragged you along. Going alone will allow you to visit the stalls YOU want to visit. You’ll get the most out of the fair this way, trust me.
Careers fairs don’t come around often so when you have the chance to attend one, take it. Make the most of it and network with as many employers as possible. (And grab as many freebies as you can get your hands on obviously).