Preparation is key to getting the most out of our careers fairs

Prepare for the Fair

Careers Fairs allow you to meet a range of employers and learn what they’re looking for in their future employees. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, they might be the first step to finding out. 

First impressions count and it's worth doing a little preparation before attending a fair. You can read our top tips below, listen to our podcast: Prepare for the Fair and view our video at the bottom of this page. 

Here are our top tips:

  • Check who is attending in advance. Read the fair brochure - which is available online ahead of the event - and the fair listing on My Career Zone. Make a ‘wish list’ of companies and focus on them.
  • Stand out. You can distinguish yourself from others by demonstrating an understanding of an organisation, so familiarise yourself with what they offer before the day.
  • Don’t dismiss organisations based on their industry. A large number of companies attending the fairs recruit from any degree discipline and don’t necessarily seek a course related to their industry. Their focus is often on the qualifications and skills of the individual, company fit and potential.  A company in the banking sector may well be recruiting for Human Resources, Marketing and IT opportunities, so keep an open mind when considering who to research.
  • Prepare questions in advance. Also make sure you tailor them and avoid asking questions you could find easily elsewhere.
  • Don’t panic. If you want to approach a company who’s not on your list, simply look at their fair brochure entry or ask staff on our Career Zone stand for a breakdown of what they do. If you have a smart-phone, Google them.
  • Build your confidence. Approaching complete strangers can be daunting. So when you arrive, don’t rush to your favourite organisation. Instead, network with others first, to increase your confidence.
  • Market yourself. Recruiters meet hundreds of students, so consider yourself a brand and determine your USP (Unique Selling Point).  Impress them and they may ask for your CV but have it checked by Career Zone staff first. However don’t be offended if they don’t take your CV and simply direct you to their website.
  • Don’t get hung up on the benefits. Employers take a dim view of people who are only interested in what an organisation can do for them.
  • Dress appropriately.  You’re not expected to be suited and booted (unless you want to be), but don’t rock up wearing an expletives covered t-shirt. It’ll get you noticed but for all the wrong reasons.
  • Be professional, polite and courteous. Display a positive attitude and don’t just help yourself to the freebies.
  • Feel free to ask a recruiter for their business card. You might want to ask further questions or reference them in your application.
  • Allow plenty of time. Fairs get busy, particular in the period after lectures have finished, so make sure you give yourself time to visit the stands you are most interested in. Be aware that you may have to queue to speak with popular employers.  
  • Take a notebook. You’ll need it to jot down important facts. 

 

Watch our video for more tips on how to prepare

With thanks to CareerPlayer, Graduate Jobs and Career Advice on video