Job fairs are a great way to network and expand your career horizons, but it pays to prepare in advance to get most value from these events. Most job fairs are hectic, crowded affairs and those exhibiting can have short attention plans, but if you know what you want to achieve and who you’re looking for, they can be very beneficial. Furthermore, there are often workshops and other resources on-hand that are useful for jobseekers.
How do I find job fairs near me?
While the internet is obviously a good place to start if you’re looking for local job fairs, if you’re at university or college, there should be career noticeboards advertising relevant career events to your course. Two other useful sites are www.ukcareersfair.com and www.thejobsfair.co.uk.
Getting ready for the event
Research your targets – Find out who will be there. Going to every job fair that comes to town without doing any research will only confuse your job search. Target the job fairs with companies that interest you. Don’t forget to visit the websites of those companies to brush up new openings and any projects in the pipeline where your skills might come in handy.
Practice your pitch – You need to be confident enough to approach potential employers on the day, so come up with some lines to break the ice and practice your sales pitch. Your research should help here. If you know about an upcoming project, that gives you a good starting point for a conversation. Time is in demand at these events, so make it short and sweet. Explain who you are, what you can bring to the table and what your career goals are. Remember, you’re not going to be hired on the day; your goal is to make contact and create a good first impression. Be enthusiastic, ask questions and don’t leave without a business card. You’re going to need that later.
Dress to impress – Dress like you mean business. Wear interview attire and carry a portfolio for your CV’s and stationery (which incidentally you should update before attending). Backpacks are not business-like. Comfortable shoes are vital, as you may spend a lot of the day on your feet.
What to take – As well as a stack of CV’s, bring business cards, pens and a notebook. You’ll be glad you brought some water and a sandwich if there are no food stalls at the event. Take discrete notes as reminders that you can follow up on later.
Before and after
Job fairs can be very busy, so it pays to download a map to acquaint yourself where everything is and arrive early. That way, you shouldn’t have to queue to get in or for exhibitors you want to meet. If you do find yourself in a queue, chat to others in line, you might get some useful advice or make some valuable contacts. After all, job fairs are all about networking.
After the event, go through your notes and your business cards and follow up online. Connect to interesting companies and employers on LinkedIn with a thank you note and follow up promptly on any job opportunities that piqued your interest.
Of course, job fairs are only one part of a successful job search. For the widest range of UK jobs available now, there’s always Zoek.
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