Katrina Taylor- Careers and Employability Marketing Manager has worked at Careers for nearly 12 years and has organised over 50 Careers Fairs & Events and liaised with hundreds of different employers and organisations. Fairs are a great opportunity for students and graduates to meet organisations who are keen to recruit them. Here are Katrina’s key thoughts and top tips for why you should attend Fairs and how to get the most out of them.
Why Organisations Exhibit at Careers Fairs …
- To raise their profile on campus
- To promote their vacancies
- To ensure you are accurately informed and to answer your questions
- Cost effective access to large numbers of students and graduates
- To sell their organisation and encourage you to apply to them!
Why You Should Attend Careers Fairs …
- To make personal contact with representatives from a number of organisations
- To talk to current graduates – now working
- To pick up literature to help you research
- To find out about vacancies for graduates and student placements
- To get your questions answered instantaneously and face to face by recruiters
- To build networks & establish links – create a good impression
- To hone your interview skills
- To learn industry information
Make the Most of Careers Fairs!
No doubt your time is valuable so Fairs are a great way to …
- Meet multiple organisations
- Make face to face contact
- Attend just one short event
- Don’t waste your time – make the most of fairs!
Prepare Yourself for Careers Fairs!
You will present a far more professional image at the Fair if you have prepared in advance –invest time now, it’s your future!
- Think about what you want to know in advance and what you can’t find out for yourself
- Size of firm, Type of work, Culture, Location, Size of intake, Work/life balance, Training?
Do your Research!
- Identify the firms that best meet your requirements:
Use the Careers & Employability Centre, 50 Park Place
Internet – organisation’s websites
Students and Alumni already working for that organisation
News and Media
Friends and Family
- The more you know beforehand, the more you will get out of the Careers Fair
- Decide which stands you intend to visit – know why you are interested in each organisation
- Prepare questions you genuinely want answered
“Come and be interested and interesting. Employers want to see that you’re enthusiastic and that you’re not afraid to ask questions about what they can offer. Make sure that you’ve done some research before though so you are reasonably well informed and know what you want to get out of the conversation. Remember that employers will want to know about you and your aspirations but you need to walk away having learned something too.” PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Think About What Questions You’d Like to Ask?
- What do you want to know the answers to?
What areas does the organisation specialise in?
What sorts of things do you need to do to increase my chances of getting a job?
Do they have any international offices?
Do they offer work placements
What type of work do graduates do
Do they offer deferred entry?
When should you apply?
Can you apply with lower a-level points?
What are the organisation’s minimum requirements?
What level of training will be provided?
Will you have to move around the UK?
Get Ready to Sell Yourself!
What can you say about yourself? Think about …
- How you became interested in the organisation
- What you know about the industry
- Your academic degree specialism, projects and relevant coursework
- Prizes, awards and achievements you’ve gained
- Specific job training you’ve had
- Technical, computer and language skills you have
- Volunteering activities you’ve undertaken
- Your career aspirations
- Your interest and enthusiasm for the position/organisation you are applying for
It’s Fair Day … take it away!
- Smart-casual dress
- Arrive on time
- Have something to say when you approach a stand
- Be confident, positive, enthusiastic & professional
- Take notes
- If the stand is busy wait patiently, or go back later
- Only take ‘freebies’ offered to you
What Now? After the Careers Fair …
- Read Exhibitor’s materials
- Diarise important dates for applications & other events – don’t miss deadlines!
- Attend any further Presentations/Skills sessions/Talks your preferred employers are running
- Follow up any interesting contacts you made
- Decide which organisations to apply and attend any additional presentations or events
- Revisit publications & websites
- Start applying – with help from Careers & Employability!
That’s it …I hope this has helped to give you an insight into Fairs and how to prepare for them.
For further information about Fairs and the organisations exhibiting go to the Careers & Employability website http://cardiff.ac.uk/careers/whats-on/career-fairs/
Alternatively, call into the Careers & Employability Centre at 50 Park Place.
Enjoy the Fairs!!!