How to impress at the Fair

And more importantly, what to wear

You’ve done your research and worked out who you want to speak to at the Fair. Now you need to know how to go about it to create the right impression.

CV or not a CV?

You do not need to take copies of your CV with you to the Careers and Placements Fair. Most companies have their own online application forms which you need to complete anyway if you apply for a job. If they encourage CV applications, it’s better to write one which is targeted to that employer and send it off immediately after the Fair. The Carers Consultants will be running a CV clinic on the day, so drop in to have your CV checked.

Look the part

You do not need to wear a business suit, in fact, many employers tend to dress quite casual at Careers Fairs; instead, try to aim for a smart/casual look: jeans but not ripped ones with a shirt or t-shirt that looks smart. Make sure there isn’t a logo or offensive slogan on the t-shirt and check shoes are clean, not muddy from cutting across the fields on your way to the fair! Consider that the room may get quite warm so layers can work best.

Many of you’ve asked whether it’s okay to wear their piercings or attend with colourful hair at fairs. It is important that you remain true to your personality as you do want to match yourself with a like-minded organisation. In the end, it is your choice whether you might want to remove piercings, but if you would be happy to in a future workplace, then you could consider removing them for the Fair. If not, you can always say to an employer you would be happy to return your hair to its normal colour or remove piercings for a placement or job opportunity.

Present yourself professionally

It can be nerve-wracking to go up to an employer and ask them about their company. Warm up by talking to a company that doesn’t appeal to you first!

How to do it? Well:

  • start by introducing yourself, mentioning your year of study and discipline
  • shake their hand with a smile. This will make a great impact, and they will be interested in talking to you
  • before you go up to them, work out what you want to know: graduate scheme offer, what they are looking for in future employees, what’s really like to work for them, the career journey
  • show them you’ve done your research and know a lot about their company.

Goodies!

Most employers will offer freebies: sweets, pens and bags. Instead of grabbing something and running away, engage with the employer, and after the discussion, ask if it is okay to pick something up. Avoid eating the sweets until you’ve done talking to the recruiters; trying to smile while chewing a toffee or shake hands while holding a lolly may distract them from your smart attire.

Finally…

once you’ve spoken to an employer, thank them for their time. Remember they wish to speak to lots of students, so don’t monopolise them if you can see others waiting behind you. Ask them for their name and contact details/ a business card so you can refer to them in your application in the ‘Why do you want to work for us?’. Use their details to find them and connect with them on LinkedIn.

Article signed by Emma Butler, Careers Consultant