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Graduate Careers Advice Video: Graduate Career Fairs
Career fairs, we’ve all heard of them, but what are they all about and are they actually worthwhile? I’ve come to the National Graduate Recruitment exhibition to find out.
Because there are so many stalls at career fairs it can be really overwhelming. I would definitely recommend that you try to narrow down exactly what you think, even if you have about 5 different careers, narrow it down so that you’ve got some idea before you even go.
One of the first things you spot is that there are a lot of exhibitors here which makes it a bit tricky to know where to start.
Research, research, research before you arrive at the show. It’s really important that you know exactly what it is the companies do and what roles they offer. I’d say first impressions really do count. I would definitely recommend turning up in smart attire, how you would for an interview, jeans and t-shirt are a no-no really.
Looks like I messed that one up! But seriously, I wouldn’t recommend turning up if you have no idea what you want to do. The stalls get really busy so unless you’re here for a general advice clinic, it’s probably not the best place to start. But if you have narrowed down the companies you’re interested in there are some great networking opportunities on offer.
Don’t feel obliged to just thrust your CV on to every company you can. It’s much more important to get out there and sell yourself to each company, so go and spend some time with the companies, speak to them and find out what you need to know and let them gauge you and get a feel for the kind of person you are.
It’s really useful to talk to people because we do remember you and people think that we won’t because we see so many, but people do. Always take a business card and follow it up with an email saying, it was really nice to meet you yesterday, I look forward to applying in the future or something like that because that will really make you stand out.
If you’re thinking of applying to that firm look at the application form beforehand and think, is there anything in that application form that could help you by speaking to someone at the firm beforehand.
I know now there are lists made and sent through to the graduate recruitment people, if we are impressed with someone who has come to speak to us or anyone else on the stand is impressed with someone they’ve spoken to.
I’d say one thing to avoid is, don’t be a sweetie stealer; don’t just take whatever freebies they have to give out. Try to spend some time with them and work out whether it’s a good company for you.
As a student I just used to go get the free pens and cups, and that was the only reason I ever went to career fairs, but the importance of careers fairs is often under-rated.
You’ve got the skills, you’ve got the qualifications but let these companies know exactly what you can offer them.
So, I’m getting a good idea of what these career fairs are about, but what do the other people here think?
I think the careers fair was a really good opportunity for students like myself to come along and get various information on the potential careers that they want to take up and the roles.
The truth is I didn’t really want to go to the exhibition and I was asking my friends, should I go, is it useful, and they said, yes, you go and try, we kind of liked it and one of my friends, she found a job through the exhibition.
I think the career fair was interesting but I feel I should have done more research before coming here.
I think the careers fair was quite eye-opening. I was a bit skeptical when I first came here with all the people, bit of a rat race but then you get speaking to the people, the recruiters and there are a lot of nice people out there and that was the best part for me I think.
I thought it was really helpful. Everyone answered questions that couldn’t be answered from a website. They gave you a basic idea of what the job would be like, what kind of responsibilities you would have, whether you would have a mentor, basically what kind of salary you would have. It was really helpful in terms of stuff you wouldn’t find on a website or in a leaflet.
It obviously worked for them, but is it for you. Well, it’s one of those ‘the more you put in the more you get out’ situations. Unfortunately you don’t get something for nothing in the careers game.
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