Careers fairs are, above all, equal opportunity events. Unlike job applications and interviews, anyone can come to a careers fair and network. They’re a really important and often overlooked part of the job-seeking process, and something to really consider at the beginning of your career journey.
A careers fair is a chance to learn about theprofessional sector you wish enter. They are usually well attended both by active recruiters and employers who may be hiring in the future.
Careers fairs are a great way to “personalise” your pending job applications. Putting a face to your name is of undeniable help in making your application stand out.
They’re also an opportunity to get a taste of what the job seeking process is like. If you’re completely new to the professional game, this can be a great way to feel out the lay of the land outside the pressure of a job interview.
Careesr fairs are the best time to make important professional connections. Attending one shows initiative-taking and confidence, which are highly attractive and employable qualities.
How to make the most out of a careers fair
- 1. Get organised
Make sure you’re registered; know the times and your route to get there. Try to have at least some idea who you want to meet and talk to, and how much time you want to spend on each conversation.
- 2. Make an effort
Going to a career fair just to mill about is a waste of everybody’s time. To get what you want out of it, you’ll have to be assertive. Approach people and initiate conversations, rather than hanging back and waiting to be approached.
- 3. Look professional
You need to be wearing office-appropriate clothing. Even though the event may seem more casual, the suitable attire is the same as that of a job interview. You really don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons.
- 4. Be outgoing
Even if you aren’t feeling confident, this is the place to fake it until you make it. Being shy and quiet will only mean you’re more likely to be overlooked. Maintain an air of confidence but also professionalism, enthusiasm but also politeness, as best you can.
- 5. Be strategic
A career fair can have dozens of potential employers in attendance, and it’s logistically impossible for you to speak to all of them. Look up who’s in attendance before you go, and make a note of those you think will be most useful to speak to. Then try to prioritise in order to make the most of the fair.
- 6. Be prepared.
Know your “elevator pitch” – that is, a minute-long introduction to yourself and career. Formulate some answers for general interview questions (such as about your skills and experience), should they arise. It’s a good idea to come prepared with some questions for potential employers, too. And always try to pick up a business card from whoever you talk to.
- 7. Know what to bring
Carrying an abundance of CVs is a total must. It’s also worth considering carrying business cards or portfolios, depending on the type of job you’re applying for. Carrying things like water and mints in case of a dry mouth is also a good idea. Being prepared will make you feel calmer and more confident, too.
- 8. Follow up
A couple of days after the fair, try sending some emails to your most promising leads. It’ll show persistence and keep your name in the back of their mind for future opportunities.