Research, research, research.
Prior to attending a careers fair, check out who is attending by downloading and reading the fair booklet. Each one is available on our careers fair page, one week before the fair. Read about the recruiters signed up to attend the fairs and find out more about those of interest by following their web-links. Having such information will help you to impress them when you visit their recruiter stand.
If the fair is sector-specific, also read about the sector on our webpages beforehand.
Plan the questions you want to ask
Try to ask consistent questions to different organisations at the fair, as this will help you compare responses to make a considered decision about later applications.
We recommend you ask questions about the organisation’s culture, application process or training, or projects they’re currently working on. There may be issues that really matter to you and assessing your ‘fit’ with their culture may determine whether you could visualise yourself being part of that organisation or not.
You will often find the organisation has a recent graduate on the fair stand. It’s useful to ask them what their first year was like and what sort of projects or responsibilities they were given. This shows genuine interest and gives you a sense of the organisation ethos.
Don’t ask organisations what they do (they’ve already written that information in the fair booklet for you).
Consider what to prepare
First impressions do matter, so wear what you think will make you look smart but comfortable. This does not mean you have to wear a suit – they know you are a student! – but do make sure your clothes are presentable.
It is a good idea to take something to make notes on – either paper or electronic – so that you can note down useful things you have learned, or the names of the people that you met. This information can be very useful when you come to fill out applications or write covering letters.
It’s not usual in the UK to share your CV at careers fairs. Most of the employers will have formal, online application processes and so might not accept CVs at fairs. They will be more interested in finding out about you by talking to you than reading through a CV. However, recruiters will link directly to their opportunities so having a CV ready might prove useful.