Thinking about coming to a Careers Fair, but not sure how to approach it? We welcome hundreds of organisations to campus every year – who are keen to recruit Leeds students.
The Fairs are a great opportunity to say hello and learn more about your potential future employers. Olivia Osborne from the Employer Team gives you her top tips for getting the most out of Careers Fairs.
Who are you here for?
Do some research into who’s going to be at the Fair. Download the Career Fair + app for a full list of organisations attending – plus a map of where they’ll be. You can favourite the ones you want to see.
(The app means we’ve stopped printing fair guides to cut down on paper waste – we’ve saved nearly 60,000 sheets of paper in three years!)
Once you know who you’re keen to speak to – prepare some questions for them. Be brave and arrive armed with informed questions that will help you with your research – but also might leave a good impression on the employer.
I know – but hear us out! Coming with a group of friends often leads to mindless wandering – you’ll be more focused on your own and you’ll be less self-conscious when speaking to an employer. If you’re really nervous – buddy up with one person, and make sure you support each other on your individual aims for the day.
Chat to alumni
Most companies bring former Leeds students along – and they’re really useful to chat to! They might have info on how they landed their job, how their degree helped and what services, clubs or societies they engaged with here.
Network, network, network!
‘Networking’ can feel daunting but this is an important opportunity to meet potential employers or organisers that can help you to pursue your dreams – so make the most of the opportunity to chat to them.
Remember that these organisations are here specifically to meet students just like you, and events on this scale only happen on campus once a year.
Get contact details
If you’ve had a useful conversation with someone, ask if they have a business card or contact details you could take in case of any follow up questions. This will be invaluable for you if you do decide to apply to that organisation, either now or in the future. Most companies have a generic recruitment queries mailbox – so having a personal contact can make all the difference.
Make notes: Something to make notes with, paper or electronic. After speaking to people it is really worthwhile taking a few minutes after you’ve moved away from the stand to make a few notes – you will thank yourself for this later.
Reflect on your conversations
If you’ve had a good chat with an employer, take a moment to make some notes when you move away from the stand. Note who you spoke to, what about, and their contact details if you got them. This might be really useful later.
Spend some time in the evening mulling over the day while it’s fresh in your mind. Did you get what you set out to achieve? Did you learn anything unexpected? Would you do anything differently next time you meet a potential employer?
If you did have a useful or interesting conversation with someone, drop them a line to tell them. Sending them an invitation on LinkedIn makes for an easy way to contact them later on, and will help them to remember you.
Enjoy yourself! It’s an exciting opportunity to make some connections, get some inspiration and learn more about what you might do after uni.
Remember that everyone is in the same boat and not many people know what their plan is, and employers will relate to that feeling too.
We know approaching employers can be daunting – take a look at this post by our Assistant Head of Student Careers, Jess Henderson, on how to build your confidence.
We’ll see you at the Fair!