If you are unsure what to do after university or you would like help finding a job, then attending a recruitment fair is a must.
Recruitment exhibitions are essential careers events, and have been designed to provide graduates with everything they need to find a job – from choosing the right career to preparing them for the working world.
However, in the graduate job market, competition is fierce. It is important to know what steps to take before, during and after the exhibition to ensure that you get maximum benefit from attending. In this article, we share our top ten tips on getting the most from a recruitment exhibition.
Ten tips to make the most of a recruitment exhibition
1. Be clear about what you can offer
Think about your degree, your work experience and your skills. What are you good at? What could you bring to an organisation?
Once you have this clearly in your mind, you can then start to plan your visit and focus on the companies that will benefit you the most.
2. Look through the list of exhibitors
Visit the event website before attending and learn more about the companies that you will be meeting onsite. Make a list of the ones you definitely want to speak to and another list of the companies you would like to speak to if you have time at the end of the day.
Prioritise the list so you are focusing on the ones you want to speak to first. Be warned though, if big names such as Aon or Willis Towers Watson are the top of your list, expect to wait a little bit before you talk to someone. Competition is fierce and you certainly won’t be the only one with wanting to find out more information.
Once you have a list of the companies that you’re looking to impress, do your research. Visit their website to learn more about their graduate opportunities. If you are in your second year and want to get a head start, then take a look at their internship opportunities.
Follow them on social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and also read any press coverage or white papers that they have released. Read up on their stances on the topics that dominate the news cycles, such as Brexit and trade talks between China and the United States.
Not only does this show a wider knowledge of the industry but you will also be able to impress recruiters with your enthusiasm and dedication to the company, it’s a sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd. You can read more on how to develop commercial awareness here.
4. Make a list of questions you would like to ask
Preparation is key when it comes to recruiter exhibitions. This is your chance to get your questions answered and find out about the recruitment process, the company culture and what someone in your position would need to do now to prepare for possible vacancies in the future.
Find out as much as you can, the exhibitors are there to help! Ask for advice on the recruitment process and how you can improve your chances of success, the chances are the people there have been through the same recruitment process as the one you are hoping to go through, so they will be able to offer invaluable advice.
5. Look through the list of presentations and features
At many careers fairs, graduates can take advantage of a wide range of career advice features including CV clinics, free mock assessment centres, workshops and presentation. You should try and go to as many of these as you can as they will provide invaluable advice.
To avoid missing out, make sure you know what times they are on and which you need to reserve a place for.
6. Update your CV
It will be useful to have a few copies of your CV handy at the exhibition, as you can use it as a prompt when speaking to exhibitors. You might also be able to have your CV reviewed by experts at the exhibition.
A few weeks before you attend the exhibition, review your CV and make sure that it is completely up-to-date. You can read our tips to writing the perfect CV here.
7. Plan your journey
This might not apply if the exhibition is on your campus. However, if it isn’t, then familiarise yourself with the route beforehand and work out your journey time. You don’t want to miss any interesting seminars or your place in the queue to talk to some of the big employers.
8. Dress to impress
Treat the exhibition as a first stage interview – that means dress smartly. Don’t wear jeans and a t-shirt, instead opt for a shirt or blouse and a pair of trousers. With so many people to talk to during the day, recruiters will remember those who look like they have made a serious effort.
9. Remember common courtesy
As we said, treat this as a first stage interview. That means eye contact, a firm handshake and good manners. These things will get you noticed for all the right reasons. Turning up and saying ‘So what do you do then?’ will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.
10. Plan your next steps
Don’t let all your new-found knowledge be forgotten as soon as you walk out the venue. When you get home, go through all the literature and notes you collected as soon as possible. Make a list of the vacancies and schemes that you need to apply for first and make note of them in your calendar.
If you have a LinkedIn profile and you remember the names of some of the recruiters, don’t be afraid to add them on LinkedIn. This not only shows that you are proactive and enthusiastic, but they also might share updates about their company and the recruitment process. You can read more about how to use LinkedIn to boost your job prospects here.
Above all, you should enjoy yourself! A recruiter exhibition is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your employability, network with recruiters and start taking steps to land your dream job.