Employers come along to career fairs to promote their profile, brand, career opportunities and provide valuable networking time for interested students. Previous blogs highlight the importance of reviewing your networking strategies for face to face meeting – everyone has to network!  You can’t challenge the fact that if you want a great career, it requires you to work really, really hard. Also, gaining confidence with interviews is important, this includes information gathering conversations and practice makes perfect. All of this puts you a step closer to discovering your future career, dream job, and to be recognized as a potential candidate when attending a Careers Expo.

Now is your chance to make the most of the upcoming May and August Careers Expos by being well prepared. Benefit from the opportunity to gain up-to-date information, explore employment pathways and learn about training options for up-skilling.

Preparation is important for making a strong first impression on the day, when face to face with your future employer, here’s a few tips:

  • Do your research and check the Directory of employers attending, available on the Careers website and CareerHub. Have an idea on the study area sought.
  • Come prepared. Have copies of your CV ready. You might need to prepare more than one version. You have an opportunity to stand out in person in a way that you might not on your CV. Interpersonal skills, communication skills and work-place-appropriate social skills are critical for recruiters. They want to hire graduates who can make a good impression on their clients and customers.
  • Prepare a 20 to 30 second introduction to use you want to sound like you’ve thought about why you’re there, but try to avoid sounding like you’re reciting from a script

Prepare questions in advance. Employers will be impressed with students who are proactive, thoughtful, and listen well. Make yourself stand out with smart questions. i.e. You may ask for information you could not find on their website. A few suggestions:

What kind of entry level positions and career prospects do you offer ………  including internship and graduate programmes?

What kinds of skills and experience do you look for?

Do you have a job description?

What opportunities are available for someone with my background?

What opportunities exist in your organisation for students with advanced degrees?

What should I be doing now to prepare myself for a job in this field?

My passion is……. In your industry ………..where and how do I start to gain work experience?

What is the culture of your company like?

Is your organisation expanding into …………(area of work or off shore)?

Have confidence in yourself. Dress in comfortable, smart casual wear and look your best as appearances really do matter! Remember you are on show, so watch your manners and mannerisms and be enthusiastic. Good handshakes are critical, smile and look them in the eye. At the end of your conversation, don’t forget to say thank you and ask for a business card for follow-ups.

When the Expo is over, it is time to:  

  • Review your brief notes and summarise what you learned, and what your next steps are.
  • Follow up with an email to the person you talked to if you have any further questions.
  • Find out more about the employers that you are most interested in from their web site, the media or their annual report.
  • Put your new found knowledge into practice when you apply for summer internships and graduate jobs.

Further references:

https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/networking/329701-how-to-make-the-most-of-graduate-job-fairs

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobfairs/a/job-fair-questions-to-ask.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/graduate-jobs-jobs

Have fun and enjoy your time at the Expo.

See you there!