Attending a careers fair is one of the most valuable things to do at university, when you’re thinking about your next steps. To avoid common mistakes at the next SOAS careers fair, here’s 3 quick and easy tips to help get the most benefit from attending.
1 – Research who the employers at the fair are, before you attend
Come to the fair knowing who you want to speak with, as you might waste time and energy speaking with employers that don’t interest you. Rather than going to see all the employers, have a read through their online content like websites, social media and industry related sites. Then decide which employers appeal to you the most, and therefore who you want to speak with at the fair.
2 – Think about what information you want to get out of the fair
To stand out and make an employer want to engage with you further, plan out the questions that specifically address what you want to find out. Once you know which employers you want to speak with, think about what you already know from your research, and what gaps are there.
Employers are always more impressed by somebody who has prepared what they want to ask and therefore already engaged with who they are. It really helps you to make a positive first impression, and you’re also more likely to have a great conversation with the representative at the fair.
3 – Be positive when you communicate
Attending a careers fair gives you the chance to have a conversation with a recruiter or alum from each respective employer. It’s worth thinking about the details of how you can make a great impression on them and leave them wanting to hear more about you. This isn’t simply a vague statement of how to sell yourself, but rather thinking more specifically about how you present yourself.
Have a think about how you phrase questions so that you’re enabling a conversation rather than getting yes/no answers. Try to convey confidence with your body language, by having a firm handshake where appropriate, maintaining eye contact and having a good posture. Listen to what the alum or recruiter is saying, and try to highlight some of the experiences or skills that you have when they’re mentioned. It’s helpful to keep a focus on positive language. If you haven’t got a particular type experience or skill that they’re looking for, ask them for example of how you might demonstrate and develop those skills. You’ll be surprised at how simple some of the suggestions might be.
Lastly, don’t highlight weaknesses to the employer. Doubting yourself will not help you make a positive first impression. Think about what you have achieved so far and also focus on your goals.
Focusing on these will hopefully frame your experiences and ambitions in a positive way, which will help you to present yourself more enthusiastically to a potential employer.
Jai Shah, Careers Consultant