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If you’re in your final year at university and starting to look at job options, one of the things you should definitely do is attend a career fair (or ideally, as many as you can!). A career fair can be a great way to get a feel for the kind of jobs available and the companies offering them, as well as an opportunity to get some networking done.
But what exactly will you gain from attending a career fair?
Some career fairs have on the day interviews, meaning you may well be able to have a couple that day! Even if you don’t get a job through these, it is vital practice. In addition, many also have mock interviews and sessions teaching about the best tips and tricks , so it’s worthwhile attending to get some experience. Beyond this, even just talking to the recruiters on their stalls can give you practise on how to answer common questions, and to give your best impression.
You’ll get the chance to ask recruiters questions, as well as being questioned by them. This is a great way to find out about how different companies work, and work out just what they’re looking for. Of course, you shouldn’t be using this time to find out the basics – that’s what the internet and research is for. Instead, you’ll want to use this chance to find out things you otherwise might not be able to.
CVs and other advice
Many career fairs have ‘CV clinics’ or bookable sessions giving you information on how to write covers letters, have the most up to date resume, or how to approach applications. If you’re not sure on any of this, make sure to book these well in advance as they’re usually very popular!
Graduate career fairs
In order to make the most of graduate careers fairs, you’ll want to be prepared. Here are some top tips to make the most of the day!
#1 Dress well
Wear something professional. It doesn’t have to be full black tie, but don’t turn up in jeans and a t-shirt either. Aim for something that you’d wear to an interview.
#2 Prepare in advance
Look up which companies are attending, research them , and have a plan in mind for who you want to see and what you want to ask them. This’ll make sure you get the most out of the day!
#3 Walk around alone
As helpful as your parents, or your friends, may wish to be, going round alone shows that you’re independent, confident and know what you’re looking for. You’ll come across as much more professional and ready to be hired that way! Plus you’ll be able to concentrate more on the job in hand.
#4 Take your CV
Not all employers in attendance will accept CV s, but many will, so you’ll want to have a nice stack with you. Don’t make the mistake of letting them get creased, or folding them into your pocket though – having a nice ring binder full will keep them flat and give you a surface to write on when taking notes. It will also create a much better impression.
#5 Take notes
Whether it’s the name of someone you got on well with to name-drop, contact details or simply some useful information you didn’t know, keeping a notebook with you to fill with useful things is definitely worthwhile.
Graduate career fairs in the UK
What graduate career fairs in the UK are there? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. There are general graduate career fairs, which are open to everyone, and there are postgraduate career fairs, or subject-specific career fairs.
The best place to start is by looking at what your university offers, whether you’re a current student or an alumni. It may be smaller than some of the nationwide ones, but it will also have less people in attendance.
Once you’ve done that, see if there are any subject-specific ones. This means you’ll be able to make use of all the resources available on the day!
Finally, keep an eye out for them being advertised via university emails. Often they’ll require you to sign up in advance, so make sure you plan ahead!
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