Not sure what you want to do when you graduate?
Career events and graduate recruitment fairs provide a useful insight into the variety of career options that you could pursue and the employers that might employ you – don’t just look at them as a good source of cheap pens and desk toys! It’s hard to find one comprehensive source of every graduate careers event going, so we’ve listed below those websites that also seem to publish a good selection of job fairs and events. Your uni careers service will also publish a list of those just coming to your uni so make sure that you register with them. Follow us on Twitter and look at the lists we suggest to get real-time updates on what’s going on and join our Facebook Fan page.
Make the most of your time: Graduate recruitment fairs can be huge and the popular employer stands get really busy so plan ahead. Register first if you can and check out the recruitment stands and career advice clinics that you want to attend ahead of time.
Dress and behave ’employably’: Don’t just turn up in jeans and a scruffy T Shirt, treat it like you would a job interview – dress appropriately and act professionally. The graduate talent scouts working on the stands will remember you and they will send back notes to the HQ recruiting teams about candidates that have impressed them. It’s a buyer’s market – ask what they’re looking for, sell yourself, don’t expect to be sold to.
Don’t hog the freebies: Most stands will have free giveaways on the stand but don’t just take them and walk away. You’re here to get a job so talk to the graduate career scouts and find out what else they have to offer you.
Do your research: If there are employers exhibiting that you are already interested in, use the chance to talk to them about the questions you want answered that aren’t on their websites. Compare them with their main competitors – if you’ve been to one retailer or accounting firm’s stand, go to their rivals as well. Maybe you’re struggling with aspects of the job application form or you want to know more about the training and career promotion prospects they offer. You might come across some employers that you weren’t aware of before – take the time to find out more at the fair and look them up on the web later.
Network: The graduate talent scouts will have business cards on them – ask for them. Find out if it would be OK to follow up by email with any questions you think of after the fair. Be polite and remember to say ‘Nice to have met you at XXXX Fair’ before you ask any questions so that they’ll remember you.