9 Ways to Make A Careers Fair Work For You

The DMU Internships, Placements and Graduate Careers Fair is coming. 78 employers from a vast range of areas will be coming to TheVenue@DMU – formerly the John Sandford Sports Centre – over the course of two days for students and graduates to chat to about internships, placements, permanent employment, and even further professional qualifications and training.

Careers fairs aren’t just for informational purposes, though – they can result in a job offer if approached correctly. The attending employers will be on the lookout for promising attendees – in other words, they will be actively looking for potential employees! So, how can you maximise your chances of catching an employer’s eye? We asked one of our careers consultants, Karen Kuo, for some tips on how to make the most of a careers fair.

Before the event:

  1. Research and prepare. A full list of this year’s exhibitors can be found on MyGateway, and we’ll be tweeting about them from our @DMUGateway Twitter account; have a look at the list, pick out the companies that interest you the most and read up on them.
  2. Prepare questions. This way you’ll be able to impress by engaging the employer in meaningful conversation about their business area rather than just asking what jobs are on offer. Avoid questions about pay or basic questions about the company that you could have found out with a quick online search – aim to demonstrate your interest in the employer’s industry.
  3. Update your CV. You never know when you might have an opportunity to hand a CV to an employer you like, so make sure it’s up to date and the best it can be.

At the event:

  1. Be professional. Arrive early. Dress smartly. Make sure you pay attention to the exhibitors, not just wander around with your friends – remember why you’re there! Try not to appear like you’re there for the freebies – a good rule is to ask yourself if you can see yourself working at this employer. If the answer is yes, take the freebies – if no, move on!
  2. Be confident. Think of it this way; you’re mainly there to do some research into companies you might want to work for, so there’s no need to feel as nervous as you might in an interview setting! Remember to be polite, as you’re still talking to recruiters – but feel free to chat with them.
  3. Consider having business cards printed – this way you can hand out your details to employers for networking purposes in situations where you haven’t found an opening to give the employer a CV. If you don’t have much experience of networking, use this as practice!

After the event:

  1. Send “reminders”. If you’ve collected relevant business cards or contact info, send out short emails thanking the employer for their time. Out of all the people they speak to on the day, relatively few of them are likely to remember to do this; if you do, you’ll stand out.
  2. Review your results. What did you learn from the employers you spoke to? Did a specific industry interest you? Have you had any new ideas about where you want your career to go? It might be a good idea to write down your findings for future reference.
  3. Act on what you’ve learned. If a specific employer caught your eye, create a targeted CV to send to them or contact them for further details.

If you’d like some further information, this video from CareerPlayer.com can provide some more careers fair advice:
http://www.careerplayer.com/tips-and-advice/general-advice/career-fairs/

The DMU Internships, Placements and Graduate Careers Fair will be taking place on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th October 2015 – current students and graduates all welcome! A full list of exhibitors can be accessed via MyGateway or by following @DMUGateway on Twitter as we tweet about each employer in the run up to the event.

Following this, the PAVE Conference, a careers information fair with an emphasis on healthcare and public sector jobs, will be happening on Tuesday 10th November. For more info, follow the @DMU_PAVE account on Twitter.

DMU Student Gateway & Karen Kuo

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