The real world awaits – make sure you’re first in the Queue
So it feels like you’ve only just unpacked your bags and already your Uni is telling you to go forth and find the job of your dreams.
Graduation feels like a lifetime away, and if you’re a first year it’s easy to think that you have a few years to suss things out. But in reality, the ever-so-competitive world of graduate recruitment waits for no one.
Use the experience of visiting your careers fair to see what top grad recruiters are looking for – after-all, you’ve got time on your side to work towards those things over the coming years.
Not convinced? Read on for our 7 reasons why you should stop by at your careers fair…
1) Get Face to Face
It’s a great chance to meet face to face with business professionals. If you’ve never had a job interview before, approach the careers fair like some kind of speed-dating / interview hybrid, only this is a fail-safe way of speaking to employers without your nerves kicking in.
If you’ve aced interviews in the past, it’s still a good way to practice how you would come across to potential employers.
2) Get Your Name Out There!
Even if you have a graduate job lined up after you leave, or none of the companies you’d like to speak to are attending, meeting people at your careers fair is a great way to get your name out there for all the right reasons.
Things move fast in the world of talent acquisition and you never know who your next boss might be. Be professional, interested and polite. If you find yourself speaking to somebody who is offering something you’re not interested in, perhaps you have a friend who might be? Make introductions – that’s what networking is all about!
Brush up on your research skills by assessing who’s there and how they may be able to help you. If you’re not sure who you’d like to connect with first, take a quick walk around the fair before actively chatting to anyone.
See who’s there and what opportunities they’re offering. Not attracted to their graduate scheme? How about the summer internship they’re offering? Are there any themes or buzzwords you’re hearing as you walk round? Take note so that when you do feel ready to approach a stand, you feel confident and better prepared.
4) Meet Your Careers Advisors
Meet your Employability and Careers team. Aside from all the recruiters exhibiting, there’ll be lots of Employability and Careers staff at the fair who can give you some on-the-spot advice, book you in for a more detailed appointment, give you some tips for making the best impression and even introduce you to employers if you’re feeling a little unsure.
5) Gain Industry Knowledge
Learn about your industry. Most industries will be represented at your careers fair – if it’s not, speak to one of the Employability and Careers staff to find out why. For example – you might not see many creative arts and media companies exhibiting – that’s because this industry thrives on start-ups and sole traders who don’t require large volumes of graduates to grow and succeed.
But just because they’re not there, doesn’t mean that you can’t dig around for information on how to make it into that sector. Speak to some of the big grad recruiters there and find out what design agencies they use, they may even give you some contacts to chase. But be open minded to what roles the graduate recruiters are offering – even the big tech firms will need someone to write copy for the websites or sort out payroll (if that’s your passion)!
6) Support Essex
Do your university a favour. You may not realise this, but careers fairs take A LOT of work and time to organise. Exhibitors often have to pay for a stand and many of the larger companies do a careers fair tour, meaning they’ll be visiting something like 12 universities in 14 days. It’s exhausting! They’ll be wanting to meet students who make this time away from their friends and families worthwhile. Students who have a positive, winning attitude that impresses them.
The sad truth of running university careers fairs is that a couple of bad impressions really do count, so don’t be that student that lets the team down! Represent your university and yourself with pride, professionalism and courteousness. Companies talk and a great careers fair means that more of the best graduate recruiters will want to come next year, so pay it forward for the next generation!
If all that isn’t enough to convince you why you should go to your careers fair then it’s no secret that employers often have cool freebies to giveaway to students. Who doesn’t need a corporate mug or two? They come in handy when you can’t face washing up!
The University of Essex’s annual Careers Fair is on Thursday 3rd November, from 11am – 3pm at the Sports Centre, Colchester campus. Click the image below to find out more about the event and be shown a full exhibitor list on CareerHub.