By Louise Conway
Careers fairs are one of the first steps you can take to securing a fantastic career. Here are some top tips on how to make the best of every opportunity there.
Preparation is key
Careers fairs aren’t on for long and stands and presentations will get busy. So do your best to make the most of the time you have.
On the day
As this is the first contact with the recruitment team of your chosen companies, you need to create the right first impression. By wearing professional dress or something approaching it, you’re showing the recruiter that you’re taking the opportunity to speak to them about employment seriously.
If you’re going with a group of friends, split up instead of cruising around together. This is your opportunity to network with your potential employers, and it looks better if you approach yourself rather than bringing your best mate along with you.
Always start with a handshake and by introducing yourself. Ask open ended questions and use information that you have gained from your research as talking points, including any recent news about the company. Never initiate a conversation at a fair by ‘what do you do?’ or even worse ‘what have you got for me?’ as it shows a lack of preparation.
Things worth asking are:
It’s also a good place to practice your interview techniques, so you should be prepared to answer questions like:
Take notes and don’t be afraid to ask an employer for their contact details if you have a good conversation with them. And not just their telephone number and email address either: ask them about connecting on Linkedin, or if they have a Twitter page. By connecting with them at different levels they will become part of your network for the long term, so it’s worth doing.
Follow it up
After the excitement of the fair is over, there are still chances to network with the companies of your choice. If you were given a business card, drop them an email thanking them for their time and their help. Not only is it professional courtesy, but it helps the recruiter keep you in mind, especially if you let them know you’ve applied. Or you could just say how much you enjoyed meeting them, and ask to be kept informed of further opportunities. If they’re on LinkedIn or Twitter, make contact there too.
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