In this guide we take you through how to get the most from graduate job fairs. We also highlight the things you can do to ensure you stand out from the hundreds of others visiting the same job fair.
The Right Fair for You
If you are going to invest time in visiting a job fair it’s important that you check out a few things first to make sure it will be worth your while;
- Employers; check out which employers are going to be there. Some fairs have a wide range of employers, others focus on a specific job sector such as Accountancy or Hospitality. Look at which employers have taken a stand do they include the companies you might be interested in? Most importantly check that there are enough employers there to make your visit useful
- Open or closed; some job fairs are only open to students from one or two Universities. You don’t want to spend your time going to a fair where you will not be able to go in! Many of the best known job fairs are open to all graduates – but it is worth checking before you set off
- Graduate or Postgraduate; some job fairs are aimed at a specific audience such as postgraduates or undergraduates. Again check the detail before you decide to attend the event. Most are open to any type of student
Benefits of Job Fairs
Although it is unlikely that you will get offered a job at a job fairs there are some real benefits in attending them;
- You get to meet employers and make a good impression. If you decide to apply for a job this makes it more likely that you will get invited for an interview
- It is an opportunity to learn more about different companies, training schemes and jobs available
- You get the chance to leave you CV with employers or get their application packs
- Employers often take graduates that have joined them previously to their job fair stands. This means you can find out what is like working for a particular employer from somebody like you who has recently joined them.
- You can make contact with employers and get the business cards of specific people in the company. This provides you with a network that you can use to help you get a job. You can call these people later and ask if you could talk to them about the company etc. There is a separate article on networking to get a job on this site and you should read it because in today’s competitive market this is the way to get ahead of your competition. Most of our career coaching clients get their jobs directly, or indirectly, through networking
Stand Out From the Crowd
Your aim should be to stand out from others seeking a job and here are some tips for doing that at a job fair;
- Research the companies that you are interested in before the day. This means you can demonstrate your interest in joining them and your initiative in researching them.
- Look at things such as the company’s products, financial performance, and organisation structure. Check out any challenges the industry is facing. Have a look at their recruitment page and see if it tells you about the skills and competencies they look for
- Use your research to create some good questions that you can use when you visit their stand. Employers will always be impressed if you have taken the time to do some proper research and they enjoy answering sensible questions.
- Prepare some opening lines so that when you are asked ‘how can I help you?’ you can make a powerful first impression. This is your chance to demonstrate your skills and what you have to offer. So a good opening might look like this ‘I am just completing my business degree and have taken the marketing module options. I am really interested in the opportunity to develop my skills in a brand led retailer such as you company’
- Make sure you dress to impress – look the part so employers can imagine you in their business. This means you should not wear jeans and a T shirt because it happens to be comfortable. Equally most employers would not expect you to be in a suit and tie. So dress in a smart manner; for men this might be a pair of proper trousers, open neck shirt and jacket. For women formal trousers a blouse and a jacket
Having been on stands at job fairs I can tell you that if you follow the advice here you will stand out head and shoulders against your competition. A normal stand will have around 200-300 visitors and it is tiring for the recruiters talking to people who have no idea about the company or what they want to do. The person that turns up looking the part, who has done some research and has some interesting questions is a real pleasure to talk to! The tips here have also worked for many of our career coaching clients and enabled them to find and get the career opening that they wanted.
Keywords; Job Fair, Job Fairs, Graduates, Postgraduates, Career Coaching, Graduate job fairs, job fairs for graduates
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