5 ways to make the most of Graduate Job Fairs
So first up, a big congratulations. If you are reading this article and you are a recent graduate, high-5 for getting this far. Three or four years of hard work (and socialising) has led you to this point.
Graduate job fairs is where local & national employers and recruitment agencies collectively have stands and exhibition space in a hall or shopping mall space and highlight / pitch their employment opportunities to graduates on mass. With this in mind and to help with the process, here are 5 top ways to make the most of graduate job fairs.
First-up, and before you even start searching for applicable graduate job fairs to attend, take some time to consider your objectives and aims for attending one. This might seem obvious to some who have their aims and career path neatly mapped out, but for others who have just graduated, and have no clear career goal in mind, try to consider what type of job you want and whether it is a long-term, short-term commitment you are currently looking for.
Considering all of these aspects will help you both in setting some initial generic career objectives and targets, but also when deciding the type of graduate job fairs that you will attend, and which employers you should target to make the most of your time.
Leading on from your initial need to consider what you might actually want to achieve and benefit from a graduate jobs fair, secondly, and again before you attend, take some time to research the employers and agencies that are listed as exhibiting at the Fair itself. Taking the time to research the types of employers and jobs that might be advertised at the fair will allow you to create a target list or hit list of stalls that you most want to visit and also give you the opportunity to clue up and research on the employers themselves – there can be nothing more impressive that a job seeker who has taken the time to learn about the business that might end up employing them and can be a valuable brownie point in the right direction in finding a job and possible career.
Now you are at the event and visiting all of those target businesses that you have already identified as possible employers, do not miss this opportunity to give them something to remember you by. Keep in mind that there will be countless other graduates all vying for employment, so as well as making a great impression in person, you must make sure that you give employers every opportunity to make contact with you at a later date.
The type of literature you create very much depends in what capacity you are planning to work. For example if you are hoping to pick up some freelance work, then you might like to have business cards on hand to pass out to potential clients / employers, however if it is a staff position that you would like to get then a CV is an absolute must.
One of the ways that graduate job fairs have changed in the last decade is that as well as connecting in person, you are also able to make immediate contact with a business online, once you have met them. This could be as simple as emailing your CV to them or sending them a tweet, but it is a very effective way to encourage further dialogue, and to make sure that you stand out in their mind. It also opens up another channel of communication which can allow you to follow up on your conversation later on.
As surprising as it might sound, one of the biggest mistakes which attendees of graduate job fairs make is failing to follow up on the meetings they have had. Make no mistake, there is little point in going to the effort of attending graduate job fairs if you are not going to follow up on it afterwards… you may not be as memorable as you think.
Of course it is really important that you lay the groundwork for this during the event, not only by making sure that you leave all of your information with the relevant persons, but also by getting their contacts details including email addresses / social media accounts. This means that when it comes to following up on the event, you will be easily able to get in touch with the right person without having to go on a hunt for their details.