Skip to Content

Careers Fair Top Tips for Students

10 October 2017

The round of autumn 2017 careers fairs for Gradsouthwest kick off next week at the University of Exeter and the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, so we thought it timely to re-issue our blog post from earlier this year: "Our top tips for students to make sure you make the most out of attending University Careers Fairs". So here it is:

We recently attended the University of Bath’s Careers Fair and it was fantastic event, with lots of different businesses and opportunities for students. Having a load of recruiters together under one roof can make things a lot easier for job-hunting grads, it’s like Gradsouthwest come to life in the real world. Great opportunities and a good chance to get some exposure to different companies, to put yourself out there and make yourself known, after chatting to the recruiters at the fair we’ve put together our top tips to make sure you make the most out of your day.

Planning your day

1.    Ask yourself what you want to get out ofthe careers fair. Do you want to speak to people to get a feel for the culturethere? Are you at an earlier stage and want to find out a little more about theindustry? Or are your applications about to be fired off, and you just want tomake sure the recruiters know who you are before they read your CV?

2.    Usually fairs will provide a list ofrecruiters or a plan of the stalls on the days beforehand online – it’s importantto take a look! Make a game plan. Even though you might be there for the wholeday, you might not have time to see everyone. Make a list of the recruiters youwant to see, and prioritize them.

3.    What’s more, you have to research the firms you want to speak to. Go ontheir websites, read brochures, dig out any information you might havepreviously collected. Use this to make yourself look informed and interested ineach individual company – that’s what will make an impression. Preparequestions that you can ask. Remember that it’s unlikely that partners or veryhigh up people at the firm will attend the careers fairs so it’s usuallyrecruiters and people at entry-level positions, so target your questionsaccordingly. Don’t ask someone from graduate recruitment about the company’slong-term plan for organic growth in Africa.

4.    Consider printing off some copies of your CV. Not everyone will acceptyour CV, but it’s worth having some there, just in case. Even if no one takesone, it’s still handy having a list of your skills and achievements right therefor when you need to talk about them in conversation.

5.    Lastly, lay out your chosen outfit thenight before, so your morning goes that little bit smoother. Remember to dressto impress, business attire will make you stand out for the right reasons.

Whilst you’re there

Once you’re actually at the careers fair, there are more things you cando to get the most out of your day.

1.    Get there early! Careers fairs can get really busy (after all,anticipate the job market will remain as or get even more competitive). Gettingthere early makes it more likely you can see the stalls you want to withoutthere being massive queues.

2.    Be tactical with the order in which you approach employers. Considergoing to the employers you’re interested in but aren’t a number one priorityfirst. This will give you a chance to practice the way you speak to therecruiters. By the time you get to your prioritized firm, you’ll be confidentand ready! Although, also be aware of the time – don’t spend too long at thefirst couple of stalls.

3.    Be proactive; don’t just go around collecting brochures (or promotionalproducts). Initiate conversations, and make an impression. It’s important tostay professional and polite when you’re talking to people. Don’t panic. Tryand look confident if you can, don’t be scared to ask for business cards.

4.    Send a follow-up email to any recruiters or anyone who gave you theirdetails – thank them for their time. Consider sending your CV: remind them whoyou are and just say that your CV is attached.

5.    Mostly importantly register with Gradsouthwest, with an ever-increasingdemand for graduate talent recruiters are in constant contact with usadvertising vacancies and search for the best new talent in the market.

6.    Now you’re armed with our advice on attending these events, you can goout there and make the most of your day at a Careers Fair!

Nick Crawley


Back to News