7 February 2024

Why You Should Go to A Careers Fair

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Careers fairs are super useful and if you haven’t been to one yet, it’s time to get involved.

With loads (sometimes hundreds) of employers in one building, it’s the perfect opportunity to get yourself on the career ladder or even score yourself an interview at the end of it.

According to UK Careers Fair 38,000 candidates have been hired as a result of attending one of their fairs. So it’s worth finding yourself at one.

If that wasn’t reason enough, read on to find out more reasons why a careers fair should be added to your calendar.

Careers fairs can: get you in front of employers early

There aren’t many opportunities to meet employers face to face outside of insight days, assessment centres and interviews.

A careers fair is your chance to talk to employers directly and find out everything you need to know about them. You can discuss everything from their opportunities to what you have going on in and outside of university (relevant of course, I’m sure while those Christmas pet pics are lovely, probably not careers fair material).

Think of questions you can ask employers;

  • What kind of students are you looking for?
  • How would you describe your company culture?
  • How long have you been at [company name]?
  • What do you enjoy the most about the role/company?

You can also ask about a particular role the employer is currently advertising (always do your research beforehand. Do not ask what roles they have).

Careers fairs can: help you work on those networking skills

Networking is a really important skill to have. Getting to know people in the industry is great because you’ll;

  • Have first-hand access to industry knowledge
  • Be able to find out about job opportunities before they hit the general market
  • Find mentorship opportunities.

It’s all about building your confidence in professional settings. It’s super daunting at first, but you’ll quickly find that people are generally really warm and want to speak to students. You have something they’re looking for.

There are plenty of opportunities to network, so if a careers fair is too much too quickly, there’s something for you. Read 5 Ways to Network at University.

Careers fairs can: get eyes on your CV

Why not get CV advice from the people who will be reading your CV?

Think of your CV as the key to unlocking the career you deserve. A careers fair is there to help you. Careers fairs often have specialists who can help you get your CV in shape before sending it to recruiters. This can happen either one-on-one or in a CV workshop.

Once your CV is at the standard it should be, you’ll be free to customise and send to all the recruiters you’ve been eyeing.

Beyoncé’s internet is filled with conversations about whether or not you should have a cover letter prepped for a careers fair. We say, yes.

Once you’ve had a wonderful conversation with the rep from a company you’re desperate to work for and they’ve asked you to send them your CV and cover letter and you have nothing prepped… You already know.

Never been to a careers fair? Find out what it’s like below with this video from The UK Careers Fair

Careers fairs can: uncover hidden opportunities

Naturally, there will be loads of large companies at a careers fair and it’s easy to go with a one-track mind.

It’s 2000% worth exploring every part of the careers fair you attend and talking to multiple employers. You’d be surprised at the amount of smaller companies that’ll align with your career goals.

There are so many benefits to working for a small-to-medium-sized employer (SME). Some of these include;

  • More job flexibility
  • Developing a wide range of skills outside your expertise
  • Forming close connections with colleagues across teams.

Meet Abigail, a marketing placement student at ProspectSoft and read all about her experiences working for an SME employer.

Careers fairs can: allow you to find out about current vacancies

Exactly what it says on the tin. Careers fairs are job fairs.

The main goal is to try and find your dream role and leave the fair scoring an interview (it happens!), however, you can attend just to see what’s out there and where you can fit in.

It’s your opportunity to find out everything you possibly can about a particular role, industry or relevant jobs you didn’t even know existed.

Careers Fair Top Tips

Heading to a careers fair fairly soon? Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience.

  • Make sure your CV is up to date. Unless you’re attending a CV workshop, you should always make sure you’re CV is done. That means making sure it’s relevant and tailored to the roles you’re interested in.
  • Research the companies you know you want to speak to beforehand. This will score brownie points with an employer. It shows you know how to research and that you have an interest in the company.
  • Set yourself a goal. Outline what it is you want from attending the careers fair. Whether that’s to find more LinkedIn contacts, score an interview or speak to four employers.
  • Get your LinkedIn profile together. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get started. LinkedIn is vital for professional networking and you can connect with the contacts you’ve made during the fair.
  • Practice interview questions. As much as it’s your chance to ask questions, employers will have some for you too. We have a full guide of common interview questions for you to get stuck into.

Thank your fresh connections post-fair. If you’ve managed to grow your network a little and grabbed some LinkedIn contacts, send them a message after the event to thank them for their time.

And there you have it! 

Careers fairs are a fantastic way to get the ball rolling when it comes to your future. If you’re stuck on where to find them, speak to your careers advisor, they’ll have a list of upcoming events for you to attend. Good luck.