Are you ready for Career Fairs?

Employers thrive on proactive candidates. They will remember you if you take an interest, ask questions and know about what they do.

So how do you become a proactive student at Career Fairs and employer presentations? Preparation and research are key - and the tools to do this are at your fingertips. Most of us have smart phones and are constantly online – it is as natural as breathing. Why not use it for career purposes too?

Firstly, register for the fair or presentation on Employability Lab online.

Get into their web space

Before attending a fair or presentation, check out who’s coming along, draw up a list of the companies you’re interested in, then get on their websites and navigate yourself to their careers page.

Check out current vacancies, examine whether the organisation offers an internship or graduate programme. What is the company’s mission and values? Has the company been around a long time or is it a start-up?

This kind of research will arm you and open your eyes. You may think you want to work for a certain company but after conducting research, it may not seem like a good fit anymore. Alternatively, it may wet your appetite to know more.

Take your research a step further. Most company websites will have a staff directory. Tap into this free information. Start an Excel spreadsheet and document names, position title and contact details of people in interesting roles in organisations.

Take advantage of LinkedIn

Also make the most of LinkedIn (if you don’t have a profile, it’s time to set one up). Look up the profiles of people you’ve found on company websites and make a connection. BUT, don’t just connect. Select ‘Add Note’ and write a message explaining why you would like to connect (going to the career fair, interested in the industry, doing xxx qualification, like what their company does). Just connecting will not make you stand out. After the career fair or event, you can also connect to people that you’ve met at the event.

Tip: Did you know that 1 out of 3 people on the planet have a LinkedIn profile? That’s a lot of potential connections! Check out the social media presence and LinkedIn profile of people working in positions you are interested in pursuing.

Get your intro right

Have you got your elevator pitch ready? You may ask “What is that”? That’s okay – a lot of people ask the same question. It’s all about being prepared for the first 30 seconds you have with an employer. It’s about working out what you want to say to get the person interested in you and/or find out about other people to contact within the organisation or industry.

And this is where your research can really come into play. At a Careers Fair, employers will be potentially chatting to hundreds of students so you need to consider how you will make your mark. Don’t just talk about a job or how to get a job in their company because everyone asks that.

Use your research

When you did your research, what did you find? What stood out to you about the employer? Is it their graduate programme? Do you think you can help the organisation achieve their goals? What skills can you bring to the table? Take the time to think about what you want to say and how you want to present yourself. The biggest question to ask yourself is why? Why do you want to work for this company? Do you just want any job or there something in particular about this company which excites you?

Bring YOU to the table

Think about how you will be presenting yourself. What will you be wearing? What first impression do you want to make on potential employers? The old clich̩ is true Рfirst impressions do count.

Make sure you dress professionally, smile, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Don’t try to be someone you’re not - bring YOU to the table. Find what works for you. Prepare, prepare, prepare in advance.

Ask away

Employers come to AUT to meet you. They want to get to know you so don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question.

A final question that is good to ask is how they would like you to follow up with them after the event, particularly if they take your CV. Some recruiters prefer emails, some prefer phone calls, some will tell you to wait for them to call you.

Collect business cards during the event and make notes of the people you speak with and find interesting.

We can help

In the lead up to these events our team holds prep workshops to help you make a lasting impression with employers and hopefully land an internship or graduate position or get your foot in the door with a start-up or social enterprise.

Find out and book your place at our employer presentations, preparation workshops and Careers Fair. Check out all the details here.

We really would like to see you attend as many employer sessions as possible to take advantage of this access to employers. What’s stopping you from opening the door to your future now?

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