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How to get the most out of careers fairs

22 Nov

Graduate recruitment season is well and truly underway for many organisations, and here at IFDS we’re making the most of the myriad of careers fairs taking place across the United Kingdom. As always, we’re on the look-out for graduates and jobseekers who are driven and motivated to be the best they can be. We’re attending a variety of different fairs, conferences and presentations over the next few months and are excited to speak to people who might be interested in a career at IFDS. So what can you do to make the most of these events?

Do your research

As with most job-related activities, preparation is key for job fairs. Know who’s going to be presenting at and attending the fair and research the organisations you’d most like to interact with. Find out what they offer graduates and jobseekers and learn a bit more about the business so that you have a base level of knowledge when you’re talking to potential employers. It’s also a good idea to think about what you want to get out of the fair, whether that’s more research about a potential career or industry or detail on how you can apply to and be successful in a particular scheme.

Actively engage with employers

During your planning phase, find out if there are any seminars, presentations or Q&A sessions being hosted by employers you are interested in. These interactive sessions can help you glean valuable pieces of information that you might not get from simply visiting the tables at the main fair. Come prepared with questions that relate to the roles, sectors and companies that appeal to you. If you can complement this with relevant industry news that’s even better - you’ll show your interest in a company and what it does. Ask direct, focused questions that will engage presenters who will likely see hundreds if not thousands of people on any given day, as this will give you more of a chance of standing out from the crowd.

Sample conversation starters can include asking company representatives what they like about working for the organisation, what the application process is like and words to describe the company culture. This is your chance to not only show your enthusiasm for a company but also find out whether it’s the right place for you to take your next - or first - career step. Find out what makes an application stand out to a recruiter and how you can best present yourself in future interactions with the organisation.

Put your best foot forward

Most presenters at careers fairs will simply be interested in talking to you and finding out how you might fit in at their organisation, but it always pays to be prepared with extras such as your CV and portfolio just in case. If nothing else, it will be useful to have on hand to refer back to in your discussions, and you may be able to leave copies behind with employers and representatives you’re interested in. Dress smartly and introduce yourself confidently to people you engage with, but remember you are often talking to recruiters, so remain polite and professional as well as friendly. Take a notebook so you can jot down key information and take notes as you go. Finally take as many business cards as you can - you never know when they may come in handy!

For more information on what it's like to work at IFDS, click here or take a look at our current range of vacancies
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