How to make the most of the Graduate Careers Fair

The Graduate Careers Fair is a great way to meet recruiters, find out more about employers and industries, and hunt for jobs.

Having top employers under one roof is an invaluable opportunity; where you can have face to face conversations and get in depth information on careers and application processes. However, careers fairs can be overwhelming! We’ve put together our tips on how to get organised to make the most of your time and enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Think ahead: plan your time at the fair

  • Check the location of the fair, its opening times and which employers and organisations will be attending. You can do that by clicking here
  • Think about why you want to attend and what you want to get from the event. For example, do you want to research an industry sector; pick up information about companies; find out about job or work experience opportunities with particular employers, get info on application processes, or network?
  • You can also use look at the programme of seminars and panel discussions taking place on the day on the gradireland events page

Top Tip: Seminars and presentations on applications, interviews and assessment centres fill up quickly so note their times and be in the queue early. Also if you plan on attending our CV clinic make sure to check in on arrival and also bring a hard copy of your CV too.

Research employers before you go

Careers fairs are a great way to find out behind the scenes stuff you can’t get from their website. However, recruiters will be busy and your time with them may be short. Prior research means you can quickly get to the details. You’ll also create a much better impression

  • Visit employers profiles on the gradireland website to find out what they do (products made/services offered) and to find out more about their graduate roles, skills and qualifications required and recruitment processes.
  • Prepare questions to ask recruiters and representatives. These can be about the recruitment process, what skills and qualities are needed, trends in the profession, and so on – take these with you.
  • In the days leading up to a fair, scan the news headlines and relevant industry sector pages of quality news websites to get a feel for what’s going on in the sectors that interest you.

Presentation matters if you want to stand out

The jury is out on how you should dress for graduate recruitment fairs. Some say suited and booted, while others say smart casual – it can depend on the profession. Smart casual is usually fine; clean and tidy is vital. It’s important that you are comfortable, but also be professional. Remember how you look is only one part of the presentation package.

When you approach recruiters at fairs:

  • Smile
  • Be purposeful, confident and enthusiastic, but also polite and courteous.
  • Know what you have to offer – your skills, qualities and experience.
  • Be ready with specific questions to ask.

Top tip: Prepare and practice a mini ‘pitch’ about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell of your skills, just a simple, brief introduction. For example: ‘Hi. My name is John and I’ve just started my final year in engineering at X-factor University. I’m business-minded and I’d like to use this skill alongside my technical abilities. I’m interested in finding out more about supply-chain management roles and I noticed from your website that you have a supply-chain scheme for engineers. Can you tell me more about your scheme and what it involves?

  • Arrive early to avoid queues and see recruiters at the start of the day.
  • Visit your top priority employer after you’ve talked with one or two others – this gives you a chance to warm up and build your confidence.
  • Don’t hunt in a pack. If you go with friends, split up to make better use of your time. Even more importantly, this will show recruiters that you are a capable, independent individual.

Make notes for future reference

Take a notepad and pen to write down the names and contact details of people you meet and to record any useful information you glean. Once you leave an employer’s stand, move to one side and take a moment to record your impressions:

  • What makes the organisation different?
  • Would you be happy working with these people?
  • What did you find out that made you feel you would fit in? How would you be able to use your skills within the organisation?

You may find that you refer to contacts you made and information you found out at careers fairs in applications and interviews.

Top tip: Graduate careers fairs are good opportunities to practice basic interview techniques. Think about how you will respond to typical interview questions: What do you know about us? What interests you about working for us? What attracts you to a career in this industry? What skills and qualities do you think would be important for this role/our company?

Most importantly don’t forget to register for the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair taking place Wednesday October 2nd in the RDS Simmonscourt from 11am until 5pm. You can get your ticket free here!

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