This page has information on the benefits of attending careers fairs and tips on what you should prepare before you go.
Careers fairs and events are a great way of finding out more information about the job role(s) you're most interested in.
- you can ask questions about what it’s really like to work in a particular job role and/or location
- you can practise marketing yourself in a positive way
- you can make some very useful contacts (if you refer to these in an application form this will show interest)
- you can find out about interesting and useful information resources
Many careers fairs also run workshops that are designed to help you with your career choice.
Before you go
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- it will help you if you have completed some of the exercises that can be found in the self-assessment stage of our four stage career-planning model. That way you will have some ideas of the kind of careers you are most interested in, so that you don’t simply blindly go around the careers fair, without any focus
- check out and plan which job role area(s) you would like to see in advance. Find out before you go which ones are going to be there. (Prioritise these as you may not have time to talk to them all)
- it’s a good idea to practise what you are going to say about yourself – about who you are and what you have to offer, in preparation for the question ‘Tell me about yourself’. You don’t have to go into too much detail, you should focus on why you are interested in that particular job role and in what experience and skills you have to offer
- you can also analyse your own skills and see if you can make any of these relevant to the job role. You can talk about some of your transferable skills such as communication skills, team-work, problem-solving skills and leadership potential
- you should prepare some questions about the different job role(s). It’s a good idea to find out some basic information about the job role(s) that you are interested in before you go to the fair. Asking “What does this job role do?” is not going to leave a very good impression. Also avoid asking solely about pay and holidays. You should make your questions relevant and direct, for example: "What is a typical day like in this job role?" or "What sort of things could I do to increase your chances of getting into this job role?"
On the day
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- dress casually but smartly. Be courteous and show your enthusiasm and motivation
- have a pen and paper ready, so that you can make notes. Before you leave a stand, make a note of the person you talked to – you may wish to follow up on this contact at a later date
- collect a floor plan on arrival so that you can easily find where everyone is located
- the programme will give you the information about any of the additional workshops that may be worth attending
- talk to people on the stands, don’t just pick up the leaflets and merchandise
- be prepared to queue up to see some of the more popular stands
- if you feel a bit nervous, it may be best to talk to a few people who are not on the top of your target list, as that will give you a bit of practice
- note the closing time and don’t approach stands right at the end when the representatives are tired and likely to be starting to pack up
After the event
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- use the valuable information you have just collected. You will have had an excellent opportunity to talk to people about the career choices that you are exploring. One suggestion is to make some brief notes on how you felt about each of the job role(s) that you visited. Another idea is that you could perhaps write a list of pros and cons about working in each of the job role(s) that you are considering
- think about which job role(s) attracted you most. Were there any that were not represented at the careers fair but that you think it may be worth finding more about, to widen your options?