You’ve done your before you go preparation and it’s the day of the careers fair. What now?
In Part 2 of this blog series, we provide more practical advice to ensure you get the most from the show.
1. The early bird catches the worm. As we mentioned in Part 1, a careers fair is like a series of mini interviews. As with any job interview you have, it’s paramount that you arrive on time. Things are a bit more flexible at a fair, but if you want time with the recruiters it’s best to get in early before the mad rush. This will also give you the chance to schedule some meetings for later on in the day if you think there is a need.
2. Be patient. If a recruiter you want to talk to is busy in conversation, go away and come back when you can see that they’re free. Lingering in the background can be annoying for everyone involved. Once it’s your turn, don’t jump straight in with demands. Let the conversation warm up a bit: use the homework you did in preparation to talk about one of the projects that the organisation has worked on. You can slip in that you’re inspired by projects X, Y, Z, and would relish the opportunity to work on similar initiatives…
3. Radiate confidence but show humility. There is nothing more distracting than speaking to someone who is fidgeting, not looking you in the eye, or obviously not concentrating. Get your body language right. Make sure that you are professional and listen to what is being said. You don’t want to appear as if you know it all.
4. Eat and drink. It can be exhausting talking to people all day, so don’t forget to take a break and have a coffee (or an ice cream) after speaking to two or three recruiters. You’ll be refreshed and ready to head to the next bunch after a bit of down-time.
5. Make an impact. A good way to leave a lasting impression is to have some business cards, or a current CV, at the ready. It’s always a messy affair to get a pen and paper out and scribble things down. If you can give potential employers the information they need in a hassle-free way, you’re making their lives easier.
6. Stand out. Without overdoing it, I’ve always found that wearing something memorable helps fix you in the minds of the employer, be it a bright red pair of shoes or a colourful tie with a plain suit. Something that sets you apart from the competition is worth trying.
7. Smile. Most importantly, have fun! Career fairs like the Naturejobs Career Expo are a great way to network and meet people. If you are enjoying yourself, chances are that others will enjoy having you there.
The last part of this series will look at what you can do after the careers fair to maximise the benefits from the day.