If you are really serious about getting a job you need to learn how to maximise your visits to career fairs. Real World looks at strategies to make you stand out from the crowd.
Maddie Smith is the Careers Consultant at Manchester University and she offers the following tips to getting the most out of career fairs:
- Remember be positive. If you don’t try you don’t get. Yes the downturn
has made the graduate job market more competitive but there are still jobs out there and recruitment fairs are a great way of meeting companies who are doing just that – recruiting! Those at the summer fairs have jobs available for a 2009 start so what better way to find out about them than to speak to someone? Use fairs to glean as much information as you can about the company culture and the roles available. If you then decide to apply you can use these insights and face-to-face contact in your application to help give yourself a competitive edge.
- Some employers will accept CVs at recruitment fairs so it’s worth
taking a few with you. Just make sure there are no mistakes on them. Get it checked out by someone at your careers service before giving it out to employers.
- The saying goes that a positive impression is a lasting impression and
There are a number of ways you can do this. People wear all sorts of things to careers fairs and dress code will depend on whether it’s an information or recruitment fair. Either way you don’t have to wear a full business suit. However, if you are a serious job hunter then a hoody is probably not the best choice of outfit! You want to look presentable and professional. Having good questions to ask and being able to talk confidently about your skills and experiences and where they might fit within the company will all help you to stand out. If you’re interested in a company try and remember the name of the person you were speaking to, or even ask them for a business card. You can then follow up with a thank you later.
- Prepare before you go to a fair and have a polished way of introducing
yourself to a prospective employer. It’s important you research the companies you’re interested in. Don’t waste time asking employers basic information you can get from their website such as ‘what do you do?’ and ‘how do I apply?’ Have some intelligent questions ready to ask which demonstrate your motivation to work for the company and explore what particular roles involve, or where your skills set can be used. All this will help you create a positive (and hopefully lasting) impression.
- You may not realise but some employers ‘talent spot’ at recruitment
fairs, taking your contact details and then fast-tracking your application. Others will use the fair to do a ‘mini-interview’ before taking things further. So, if you are a serious job hunter my advice would be look professional, be prepared and be positive!