A graduate careers fair is one of the few opportunities you will have to meet face-to-face employees from large, multinational organisations and to ask questions about what it is to work there. The trick though is to ask questions that are meaningful and the recruiter has not heard several times that day.
These events can get really busy so you don’t want to waste time asking questions that can be easily found out on the website. Some of these recruiters invest heavily in their recruitment campaign. I remember the careers information room being awash with glossy recruitment brochures – occasionally accompanied by very imaginative goodies, such as fortune cookies and toy cars. This information is now on their website and some of these sites surpass that of the leading careers sites when it comes to information on applications, skills and attributes… Before you head off to the fair, take a look at the exhibitor’s careers section – I usually find there is a link at the bottom of the homepage or under the “About Us” section – and seek out any press releases, they are often good sources of information of future plans the company may have or good news stories. It will certainly help you come up with a few informed questions to ask, even if you can only ask “I understand from your website this and this, can you tell me some more about that and that?”
When chatting to the representatives, I always find out something new whether it’s about the industry, the workforce, the issues they face or their products/services. They are usually very happy to take the time to talk about the company. They have insider knowledge of the application process and an acute understanding of what the employer wants to see in a graduate. Good information to know for when you complete application forms. And if you would really love to work for a particular company, then who would be better to tell you what they like best about working there. If you do bond then ask their name, they may suggest that you can contact them again if needed. Summer careers fairs are being held across the UK from April to June, including Cardiff Summer Careers Fair on Tuesday 9 June – careers advisers from University of South Wales will be there offering advice too.
Careers fairs are typically held in November and June. List of upcoming fairs can be found on Prospects
Sharon (USW Careers)