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Careers fairs and events

The perfect opportunity to meet and chat with employers face to face!

Whether you're looking for work experience, searching for a graduate job or placement, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and other careers events are a great way to network with companies from a variety of sectors. Find out who is coming onto campus.

It is crucial that you take some time to prepare before recruitment events by researching the employers and their opportunities. This should help you to get the best out of interactions, make a positive first impression and build connections.

Prepare for the day

Research the companies that interest you by visiting their website. You should also carry out some background research into the company and its industry sector.

Remember that employers may offer a range of opportunities, not just those restricted to the main activity of the company; technology companies, for example, may also recruit for finance or marketing roles. Don't discount a company because you don't recognise their name. Try to keep an open mind and be flexible; you may come across a career or sector that you hadn't considered!

If you're not sure what career would suit you, which organisations are relevant, or can't see the kinds of employers you want, PDC staff are happy to talk through possible options with you - just contact us before the event.

Questions to ask employers

Prepare some questions that you would like to ask the exhibitors. Try to think of things that aren't covered online or in recruitment literature, and consider what you’re looking for in an employer.

To help tailor your application and CV to specifically meet the employers’ requirements, you may want to think about asking the employers questions to gain a greater understanding of the job or placement. Print out the following questions - highlighting the ones that you think would be most relevant to you and bring it with you on the day.

  • What sort of experience do you value?
  • I've read about your graduate scheme, can you tell me a bit more about what's involved in the IT/finance/marketing (or whatever) programme?
  • How is an individual's performance evaluated in your company?
  • If I were to start in x role, where might it lead?
  • Do you use the placement role as a feeder into your graduate scheme?
  • I get the impression from the website that the culture at x is y, is that how you would describe it?
  • I'm interested in a couple of roles you offer, can you tell me more about them to help me decide between them?
  • What do you think of the experience I've had so far in terms of entering this field?
  • Who could I talk to or who could you refer me to that could give me a better insight into my chosen area of work?
  • How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?
  • What training, support, and induction programmes are offered upon joining?
  • What are the opportunities for postgraduates to obtain short-term project work with your company?
  • Do you offer work experience placements? What can I expect from a placement?
  • My study commitments are x hours per week, would I be able to fit this work around my timetable?
  • During the vacation periods or after I graduate would there be an opportunity for full time working?
  • When I graduate I hope to do x. I would like to gain experience in y, would this be possible?
  • I don't have the required A-level points to apply for a graduate post with your company? Do you look at alternative skills?
  • Can you tell me more about what you look for in applications so I can target my experience appropriately?
  • What makes some applications stand out for you?
  • What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?
  • What kind of person does well in your selection process? What traits do they have?
  • What do you think makes x a good company to work for? How would you describe the culture?
  • What do you think helped you get the job?
  • Can you tell me what you've been doing this week - is that typical?
  • What do you like most/least about what you do?
  • How would you describe the prospects for new graduates?

 

Refresh your CV

Get a head start, book an appointment in preparation for the event or, alternatively, Career consultants from the Professional Development Centre will be on-hand at Brunel fairs to help you revamp your CV, making it more targeted and more effective to land that perfect interview.

The larger companies recruit using an online application process but you should update your CV to show the skills and experiences that are most likely to interest employers.

First impressions

Think about the image you portray when you visit the fair. You could be meeting your future employer so creating a positive first impression is extremely important. The more professional you look and sound the more seriously you are likely to be taken. Dressing the part in smarter clothes shows you mean business.

Often the representatives on stands are recent graduates so don't be afraid to ask questions informally - they were probably in your position last year. At the same time they will expect you to be business like so avoid the temptation to approach in large groups or appear overly casual.

Plan your visit

Take a list of the companies you want to see, plan your approach, and go over the questions you want to ask. Don't visit your 'top' employer first, take a practice run by talking to others first. Introduce yourself by giving a brief profile, e.g. your name and degree course including information about any relevant skills and work experience.  Demonstrate your interest in the employer and how you might fit into the company culture.

Note any advice employers give you about their recruitment process - taking a name or business card is great for when you make applications. Also, remember to thank people for their time!

After the fair

Take time to write some brief notes including the names of any contacts that you have been given. Research companies in which you have a positive interest so that you can make focused applications. Check out the required application procedure - this may differ for individual companies. Where appropriate, send an email to company representatives to apply, with attached CV, for a particular post or to thank them for their time. Remember to keep a copy of all your job applications including the job spec, connect with people you have met on LinkedIn and visit company Twitter or Facebook pages.

Visit the PDC for CV or application checks, job search tactics, help with LinkedIn and advice on how to manage your social media profiles, and attending interviews and assessment centres.