Career fair tips for students

How to Prepare for a Graduate Job Fair

After making our debut at Edge Hill University’s graduate recruitment fair last year, KW Digital have put together a handy guide to help students to prepare for this year’s careers fair. We’ll take a look into the dos and don’ts of what you should prepare before the fair and will provide job fair tips for job seekers looking to attend the event this year, from an employer’s perspective.

Coming from someone who has attended Edge Hill University’s graduate recruitment fair as both an undergraduate and an employer, we are in a good position to be able to give you valuable advice on how to prepare for the day and what (and what not) to do during the course of the event.

Read on, as we share with you some handy careers fair tips for students looking to secure a graduate job on completion of their degree.

How should you prepare for a careers fair?

A week prior to the careers fair, it would be very beneficial for you, as prospective graduates, to start preparing for the day. Some of the ways in which you can start preparing include the following:

1. Have copies of your CV to hand

Make sure you spend some time on proofing through your CV (we’d recommend you get a second pair of eyes to scan through the document) before printing a couple of copies ready for the day. By having spare copies of your CV to hand, you will make it easier for employers to get in touch with you when you are closer to graduating

2. Decide who you want to speak to in advance

Prior to the event, a schedule of who will be attending the event will be made available on the University’s website and social media channels. By scanning through the list and assessing which employers will be going to the event a week in advance, you will be able to adequately carry out enough research on each of the employers. This has two main advantages, one being that you will feel more confident in speaking to the employers at the event and secondly that you will seem well-prepared in the eyes of the employer. We would not advise asking employers questions like ‘what do you do?’, as this will make you seem quite sloppy!

3. Prepare a list of questions that you’d like to ask the company

After having conducted some research on the companies that peak your interest, prepare between 3 to 5 questions that you would like to ask them. Make sure these are highly relevant to the company and what the business does. So, for example, if you want to know exactly what a graduate role at a specific company may entail, simply ask! Again, the benefits of this are twofold, in that it gives you a better idea of how you would fit in with the company and whether the role is in line with your career aspirations and it also shows the employer that you are interested and are keen to be part of their business.

General careers fair tips for students

After having prepared for the careers fair, you have practically already fought half of the battle. It now just depends on how you behave and how you present yourself on the day. Our top career fair tips for students at a graduate recruitment fair include the following:

1. Talk to businesses that are offering a position in your degree discipline

If you want to branch out into careers that are not entirely in line with your degree subject, be prepared to justify yourself!

It goes without saying that you should be approaching employers that are looking to recruit someone with your degree. However, on the off chance that you have started to completely question whether you should have embarked upon your chosen degree course in the first place, or are suddenly starting to realise that your degree path is so niche that it has very limited job prospects, then by all means approach away! Just be sure to have prepared a valid reason as to why you are not looking to pursue a career in the same field as your degree subject and be able to justify why you are interested in a career in an area that is completely different to your degree subject. So, if an employer calls you up on why you have chosen to ‘switch’ career paths, steer clear of saying things like ‘I’ve just realised I can’t get a job with my degree’. Again, this looks and sounds sloppy!

2. Don’t just go for the freebies

We all like a free chocolate or a free pen here and there, but remember to stay focused on the objective of attending the graduate recruitment fair: to potentially secure a graduate job. So no matter how alluring a handful of stationery (that will probably end up in the bottom of your bag) may be, make sure you speak to all of the businesses that peaked your interest in the research stage of your preparation. Also remember, if there are fewer people at a particular employer’s stand, it will probably mean that there will be less competition for you to wade through.

3. Have all of your contact details to hand

You’d be surprised at the sheer amount of people that are not sure what their email addresses, phone numbers and twitter handles are! Give your potential employer a good impression and be ready to give them all of the above on the day of the event, as doing so will make it easier for them to remember you and get in touch with you if they would like to offer you an interview at a later stage.

We hope you find all of our tips on how to prepare for your careers fair and what to do during the event useful. KW Digital will be attending Edge Hill University’s graduate recruitment fair once again this year, on Thursday 20th October 2016, so be sure to drop by and say hello. We hope you take into account all of our tips – good luck!

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