Application season: Conquering careers fairs 

Stepping into your inaugural careers fair can be a very daunting experience- with a multitude of employer stands, prominent banners scattered across the hall, and numerous conversations taking place simultaneously.  

But what does a careers fair consist of? And why should you attend them? Careers fairs provide a direct opportunity to build your networks, discover the breadth of roles and options, focus your search and action your plan. It allows for: 

  • Direct interaction with employers and networking opportunities: Meeting and building connections with representatives from the companies or industries you’re interested in can allow you to expand your professional network and it may lead to a future job opportunity.  
  • Company insight and understanding industry trends: Being at a career fair allows you to gain invaluable insight into different companies and industries, where you can gather information about the company’s reputation, cultures and values, or growth prospects to help yourself make a more informed decision on where to apply! It can also help you stay on top on industry trends, the job market, and the in-demand skills to help tailor your professional development. 
  • Discover real-time job openings and hidden opportunities: Find out about job opportunities that might not be advertised elsewhere!  
  • CV submission and delivering your elevator pitch: It’s an excellent opportunity for you to market yourself as some companies may accept resumes directly or schedule interviews with promising candidates. This can not only speed up your job-hunting process, but you may also receive immediate feedback from recruiters to improve your approach, and it can boost your confidence about the application process.  

How can I make the most out of careers fairs? Whilst careers fairs offer numerous opportunities, it’s essential to prepare beforehand to make the most out of the event. 

  • Dress appropriately: First impression counts! Dressing professionally will create a positive first impression on potential employers. 
  • Research companies: While it’s not necessary to be familiar with all the companies at the fair, if there’s a specific employer you’re interested in, conducting research on their values and recent developments can facilitate more meaningful conversations with their representatives. Alternatively, you can make note of the industries represented by the participating companies, allowing you to plan and approach the ones aligned with your own interests in the sector! 
  • Polish your CV: Depending on the type of career fair and the employers there, you may have the opportunity to submit your CV! Therefore, ensure you update your resume and tailor it to showcase the pertinent qualifications required for the jobs you’re interested in. Look more into how to optimize your CV here, with CareerSet! 
  • Prepare questions: Write down a list of questions you have in mind so that you ensure that you can get all your questions answered during the fair! Inquiring about company culture, job opportunities, and the skills they value in candidates can demonstrate your genuine interest. 
  • Practice your networking skills: Craft an elevator pitch that introduces yourself, highlights your experience, and expresses your career goals!  
  • Follow up: Ensure you follow up with the representatives you meet, whether this be through emails or connecting on LinkedIn! 

Most importantly, keep an open mind and be confident in talking to employers and asking all and any questions you may have! Making the most out of career fairs can significantly enhance your job-hunting efforts. Alongside our larger fairs, we run smaller Networking Nights designed to facilitate deeper discussions and employer speed meets for a more intimate opportunity to explore internships, placements and opportunities. Find out the plethora of events that we’re planning for Semester 1 2023/34 here!