How to be the best person at the careers fair
Want to do something great for the future you? The you in that luxury car giving you a knowing wink for being so smart during your uni years? Well then listen here. Get out of your comfort zone, and get yourself to a Careers Fair. Why? Because there’s no better chance in your student life to meet so many influential contacts under the one roof.
Plus if you follow our tips, you can bet your money you’ll come out with more than you came in with, whether you get new insight into your career or get on first-name basis with the recruiter from your dream company.
- Research, research and research again
Yes, it sounds boring but so many students forget that research is just as important at Careers Fairs as it is at interviews. When you register for a Careers Fair, there is (more often than not) a list of the companies attending with all the degrees they recruit for. Find the companies you like and get on their website. Read about them. Read about them again. And then when you’ve done that, do it one more time. Why? Because there is nothing that pisses off recruiters more than students who ask them for predictable, publically available information like ‘Do you have a graduate program?’
Be the student that stands out and asks them something that makes them scratch their head for a momentary lack of answer, and then follow that up with their name on LinkedIn.
- Early bird catches the worm
Employers get tired in the two or four hours of talking to students that pass through the Fair. They forget names, they get cranky, they get hungry. You would too. Be the student that gets there bright and early when employers are at their best, and when your competition are still at home in their pyjamas.
- Elevator speech
Elevator speeches can be a bit of a strange concept. The term comes from being able to sum yourself up in the space of a small trip in the elevator. While we don’t advocate that you rehearse your ‘speech’ word for word (that would be awkward), you should remember the basic points about yourself that you want to share with your potential employer. It’s nice that your name is Jack, but unless they know that you’re Jack from Finance who has interned at KPMG and was president of the Accounting Society for three years running, they probably don’t care.
- Dress smart
Students who wear thongs, board shorts, tiny dresses, high school jerseys or all of the above are shooting themselves in the foot. Amongst you will be students who are dressed professionally which in the short space of time that you’re allocated to meet with employers, will overshadow you like a big dark cloud. Do yourself a favour, and dress for the job you want, unless of course that job is being unemployed.
- Don’t collect freebies
Employers are watching you and all the other like-minded students darting around and stealing freebies. Of course they’re there for the taking, but only (and ONLY) for after a polite and engaging chat with a recruiter, not as your entire course of action. If your goal at the Careers Fair is to replenish your entire stationary cabinet however, be my guest.