October 18, 2013, by Jemma Utley
Finding your future at a careers fair
Shelley Ashenden, Employability Education Projects Officer (Faculty of Engineering)
During the application process it is easy to feel like your life is under a microscope and you are waiting to hear if you are ‘worthy’. But a recruitment fair is your chance to see employers as prospective candidates competing to be worthy of being part of your future. For out more about our up and coming recruitment fairs this term check out our web page.
Review the candidates
Log in to My Career to find out which employers will be attending. Identify employers that interest you and any that you haven’t heard of as they will be successful companies, perhaps in a niche market so it would be unwise to dismiss them. Also, smaller companies can offer greater responsibility from day one and involvement in a broader range of tasks or activities so check these out too. By finding out about a range of companies in your chosen sector you will have a more comprehensive understanding of the job opportunities open to you.
Much like when an employer reads through your CV or application form you should look at their website and social media accounts as their online resume. Find out about each company’s size, location, their industry or sector, mission statement and graduate opportunities. You should consider if companies suit your needs throughout the application process as you could be working there for two or three years as part of a graduate training scheme.
Think about questions for the candidates
When you are at the fair you should interview recent graduates and recruiters to find out more about working for their company. You can ask questions at an interview, but at a fair you will feel more relaxed and able to ask the questions that matter to you!
Some topics to start with:
- content of the graduate or internship programme
- responsibilities and tasks
- desired experience and skills
- how to make your application stand out during the selection process
- training opportunities and career development
Don’t ask about money, holiday entitlement, company cars or other benefits until the employer mentions them.
Use the research you found when reviewing their online resume to shape your questions eg “On your website it says that the graduate scheme consists of short placements, what type of work could I be involved in and what level of responsibility would I have?” This shows that you understand the implications that your findings have on what working for the company will be like.
What are the benefits that you are offering?
You’re turning the interview process on its head but it is still a two-way process so after you’ve asked all your questions, the employer will want to ask you a couple of questions at the end so be ready to impress.
- What are your skills and strengths?
- How do your experiences fit with what the company is looking for?
- How will you market yourself during conversations?
- Is your CV ready to give to employers?
If you need help with any or all of these questions then book an appointment with our team.
Are they hired?
When you talk to employers be sure to ask for their business card and write down a reminder of your conversation on the back. This means when you send a follow-up email expressing your interest in applying you can refer to it. This email can also be a platform for asking any more questions that you may have.
For more information on how to stand out on the day and what to do next, read our ‘Making the most of a careers fair’ leaflet.