With many Careers Fairs taking place during October, including some of the largest this week at Manchester Central we’ve put together some tips on how to get the most out of attending the fairs.
1. Do your research
For most Careers Fairs the University puts on you can find out which employers will be exhibiting beforehand. Doing some research on who is attending and what vacancies they have (graduate jobs, placements, internships), means you won’t waste time once you’re at the fair getting information you could have got online beforehand.
For the exhibitors it also shows a genuine interest and that you are actually interested in them and their roles. Also don’t just look at the names you recognise – there are lots of interesting jobs and companies out there.
2. Come up with a list of questions
Think about what you want to know about the company or employer in advance. You can ask about the culture of the organisation, what skills are required for a specific job role, ask about the application process, and what they look for in applicants.
If you need some ideas, here are a few example questions:
- What roles would a student with my degree be considered for?
- What are the things you look for when you’re recruiting?
- How common is it for people to join your organisations straight from an undergraduate/master’s degree? What other experience might be useful?
- What can I do to best prepare myself for the recruitment process?
3. Give yourself time
Make sure you give yourself enough time to speak to everyone you want to. The Big Careers Fair has over 80 exhibitors each day and there will be lots of students wanting to speak to them. So when you know who want to speak to (as you’ve done your research) and you’re armed with your questions you want to make sure you have enough time to talk to your hit list of exhibitors.
The Big Careers Fair doesn’t open until 10:30am so when we say get there early, we’re not talking about the crack of dawn. Just don’t turn up half an hour before the end, when the exhibitors will be tired after a long day of talking.
4. Take something to make notes with
You’ll be speaking to quite a few different people so it’s a good idea to take a pen,pencil or phone – something to make notes. Following the fair when you’ve got more time to think you’ll be able to refer back to your notes.
5. Keep an open mind
Our last piece of advice is to keep an open mind when it comes to speaking to exhibitors. Don’t just speak to the companies you’ve heard of. There are hundreds of employers out there that will have opportunities and jobs you might not have even heard of but might just be what you’re looking for.
Finally, try not to feel overwhelmed. Whilst there is a lot of choice on offer at the fair, try to relax and take it in your stride. You don’t need to make a decision straight away, you’re just there to find out more and see what options are available to you.