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Virtual Graduate Jobs, Placements and Internships Fair

Tips for attending a careers fair

When you attend a careers fair you can be overwhelmed by the crowds and daunted by the prospect of talking to employers. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

How can you prepare?

If you prepare well you will ensure you get the most out of the event because you will demonstrate how motivated and organised you are when you speak to the company representatives.

  • Proactively research who is going and make a wish list of companies that are of interest. You can tag them in the Fair App. Don’t dismiss organisations that you may never have thought of previously as many companies, irrespective of industry, will have roles in a variety of different sections.
  • Your research will make it easier for you to make an impact on the day. You can look into what the organisation does, its locations, its clients and its values. Employers often comment that students haven't done their research - don't be one of these students. Impress prospective employers by showing them you've researched the company and roles on offer. 
  • Make sure that the companies you have identified actually have graduate roles in an area of interest to you. Large organisations may have a variety of opportunities available related to several degree disciplines.
  • Prepare your questions. After your research make a list of questions for each company as these may differ from organisation to organisation.
  • If you are going to apply for positions after the fair, it would be a very good idea to get your CV looking great. If you want to ensure you have made the most of your skills and experience you can have one of our advisory staff check it for you.  

At the fair

This is your opportunity to find out as much as you can about the company from the horse’s mouth, so take advantage!

  • It’s a good idea to make sure you get to the venue early to avoid any last minute panic.
  • Make sure you download the Career Fair Plus app so that you have a clear idea of where the employers you wish to speak to are located. This will allow you to plan who you will see and in what order and will help ensure the day runs more smoothly for you.
  • Be prepared for queues when waiting to speak to some of the most popular employers as fairs can get very busy.
  • Before you go up to a stand, take a moment to look at the questions you’ve prepared for that company.
  • You can practise your networking skills by talking to an employer who isn’t the most important to you first, before approaching your favoured companies.
  • Make sure you ask plenty of questions. Questions about the application process, skills and experience they need, company culture and challenges faced by employees are all welcome. You could show how motivated you are by asking about a project the company is involved in so they can see you’ve done your research.
  • Keep the details of any contacts you have made safe so you can follow up later.

After the fair  

Make the most of the contacts you have made:

  • If you meet someone from a company or the sector that you are really interested in, make sure you follow up this lead straight after the fair: you could send an email saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and thanking them for their insights, asking to be informed of any future opportunities.
  • Consider sending your targeted CV and cover letter to them. Remind them in the cover letter that you met them at the University of Leeds fair. If you make a direct application for a role / training scheme with that employer, mention the person you met at the careers fair in your cover letter.
  • If you think of a question later, contact the person you met to find out if they can help.
  • Recruiters may have given you an insight into the company values and ethos. What you do in your spare time counts. Get involved in your target industry and show an interest in your sector beyond wanting a job.
  • Follow your preferred employers on social media platforms, and stay abreast of any new articles relating to their practices / clients/ achievements.

Advice if you have a disability  

Careers fairs are an ideal opportunity to ‘sound out’ employers before you make an application:

  • Arrive early as fairs tend to be quieter at the start.
  • Talk to them about their company’s equality and diversity policy.
  • Ask informally about any colleagues with a disability who receive support or for whom the company have made adjustments.
  • If you decide to be open about your disability the reaction you receive may help your decision.
  • If you need support or adjustments to the recruitment process, ask for the contact details of the person responsible.
  • You might find a contact who has a similar disability who might be willing to stay in touch to give you advice as you begin your career.

If you have any queries about attending or facilities available you can contact the Careers Centre or ask at the Careers Centre information point on the day.