May 31, 2016, by rajeshramesh
Get Ready for the Graduate Jobs Fair in Five Easy Steps
By Rajesh Ramesh, student blogger
Exams are coming to an end and the summer is nearly in our grasp. Before you say goodbye to a year of coursework submissions, exams, projects, viva sessions, lectures, field visits and internships – phew, that was a long list – there’s one more thing you need to do.
Get yourself to East Midlands Conference Centre on Monday 11 June for the Graduate Jobs Fair.
Alongside workshops and CV reviews, there will be representatives from a wide variety of companies arriving on campus – and as someone who’s been to a fair few career fairs, I recommend that you come prepared.
1. Do some detective work
The web version of the app is out now, where you can view a full list of companies attending. Have a flick through it and think about who you want to talk to. Is there a website listed? What’s their latest news? How do they sell themselves? The more you know about a company, the better chance you have of impressing them.
TOP TIP #1 Look employers up on social media to see what they talk about online.
2. Presentation matters
Your career fair arsenal should begin with how you present yourself. Google ‘what to wear for a job fair’ and you’ll find plenty of tips on how to dress. First impressions count; making a good one will help you stand out for all the right reasons.
3. The perfect pitch
There will be lots of students at the fair, so it’s important to remember that less is more. Prepare a 30 second introduction of yourself:
- What’s your name and what do you study?
- What you like about the company?
- Why do you think you’d be a good match?
TOP TIP #2 Follow your hello, with a handshake – keep it firm and maintain eye contact.
5. Practise your lines
A common observation I’ve made over the last 6 years of attending fairs, is that often we simply don’t know what to talk to employers about. To make it a bit easier for you, here are some questions I use as talking points:
- What do I want to know about the job roles employers are offering?
- Are there any particular application deadlines I need to be aware of?
- What’s the company work culture like?
- Are there opportunities for growth and training?
- What can I offer? How will my experience benefit their company?
5. What to pack
First things first, print off a few copies of your CV. It’s a good tool to use when talking to employers about your skills and experience. As for talking, you’ll probably be doing lots of it, so a bottle of water is also a good idea.
If you want to be extra prepared, bring a business card printed with your name, email address, LinkedIn profile, and phone number. This is a professional yet personal way to connect with the company representatives.
TOP TIP #3 Is it your first fair and you’re feeling a bit nervous? Bring a friend, maybe someone who’s on the same course as you. This is a great way to get a feel for what a fair is like without too much pressure.
So, that’s my five step guide to getting ready for the fair, but what about after? What you do next can be just as important.
[BONUS!] 6. After the fair
If there’s a company you really clicked with, follow up with a thank you. An email will only take five minutes and a few words of gratitude could reap you many benefits.
Are you on LinkedIn? Search for the names of the representatives you spoke to and connect with them. You could even write a short message asking for their advice about your application – you never know what that might say. I once wrote to the CEO of a company, and yes, sometimes you do get a response if you send a short and genuine message.
So, put your best foot forward, and get ready to get that graduate job!
Image Credit: Tableatny
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