Preparing for a Jobs Fair: 5 ways to make the most of the day

28th September, 2018

Jobs fairs offer a great opportunity to introduce yourself to recruiters and increase your chances of finding the perfect vacancy to move your career forward.

At a jobs fair, you can introduce yourself to three types of organisation:

  • Businesses looking to hire new staff.
  • Employment and careers advice services.
  • Training providers, colleges and universities.

Whether you’ve been to jobs fairs before, or you’re planning to attend your first one soon, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being successful and finding the help and information you need to move forward in your career.

We’ve broken it down into five steps, which can be used in combination with speaking to one of our advisers, to help you to make the most of the next jobs fair you go to.

1. Start planning early

Making the most of a jobs fair starts before you leave the house. In fact, it may even be wise to start preparing a few days beforehand. This will give you time to update your CV, research what employers and providers will be at the fair, and decide how you will prioritise your time when you arrive.

2. Work on your CV and elevator pitches

Employers are almost guaranteed to ignore you as a candidate if they think you have given them an outdated CV. Spend some time in the days leading up to the jobs fair bringing your CV up to date and making sure it reflects your current situation.

While you are doing this, practice how you will introduce yourself to the people you will meet at the fair.

Some people find it helpful to rehearse ‘elevator pitches’; 30-second explanations of your current position, what your aims are and why you have stopped at that particular stall. You may want to create different introductions based on the different people you will be talking to and the information you are hoping for.

3. Research who will be there and what they are offering

You probably already have an idea of the type of work you’re looking for. If possible, try to find out which organisations will be attending the jobs fair and focus on those that catch your interest. Look at their current vacancies (these are usually listed on their corporate website, or can be found through a search engine) to get an idea of who they might be looking or at a jobs fair.

If there’s a particular role that you intend to apply for, make a note of it so that you can ask for more information when you talk to them. Knowing what is available and having questions in mind could make you stand out to the employer and give you the edge against other people applying for that role.

4. Give yourself enough time

Sometimes, arriving at a jobs fair can feel overwhelming, and can affect how you interact with the people you want to impress. Arriving early will give you time to regroup. It is a good idea to take a drink with you so that you can have five minutes to sit and rehydrate, as this can be a very effective way to steady any nerves.

In addition, managing your time effectively will mean that you are not rushing from stall to stall, or cutting off important conversations early, which could give potential employers the wrong message.

5. Pay attention to appearances

It’s important to make a good first impression when talking to possible employers, and dressing appropriately is a big part of that. While you don’t need to go all out in a suit and tie, smarter clothes will make sure that you look professional and stand out in their memory.

In addition, it can be a good idea to take an A4 folder or file with you. This will mean that you can carry a few copies of your CV, just in case an employer asks to see it, whilst keeping them, and any application forms or information sheets you pick up during the event, clean and free from creases.

Why get advice?

Hopefully, these tips mean that you feel confident and able to turn up to the next jobs fair ready to discover the next step in your career.

At Futures for You, we offer one-to-one careers advice sessions, during which you can access help with your CV and covering letter, interview advice and guidance about the opportunities available to you, so why not get in touch to make sure you’re completely ready for your next jobs fair?

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