By Weronika Z Benning, on 5 October 2016
Every year UCL Careers holds a number of Careers Fairs to help you talk to employers and find out first–hand what they’re looking for. To help you prepare effectively we’ve put together some handy tips to get you started:
Before the fair
- Be aware that there will be a mixture of all kind of employers representing the sector exhibiting each day and you might find an employer that you had never really considered before becoming of real interest to you.
- We strongly encourage you to do some research on the exhibitors before the fair at: ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs where you’ll find a listing of exhibiting employers.
- As well as reading the exhibitor profiles, click through to the organisation’s own website to find out more about them.
- After your research, decide which exhibitors you particularly want to talk to in order to ask more informed questions. It can be difficult to understand the difference between big companies within the same sector. Often it’s the cultural aspects that make a real difference in the working environment and this can only be appreciated through talking and interacting with representatives at the Careers Fairs. Try to prepare some questions in advance and think about the main points that you would want an organisation to know about you – it can help you feel more confident.
- To help with this, why not come along to one of our Fair preparation workshops organised by UCL Careers
At the fair
- Each exhibiting organisation will have a stand and their representatives are there to answer your questions about the organisation itself, the nature of the job opportunities available to final year students and graduates, what internships/placements they provide to earlier year students, and any other opportunities available.
- Wherever possible, try to talk to someone on the stand instead of just picking up a brochure. Use the opportunity to ask your questions face-to-face.
- If you are feeling a bit nervous about approaching your first choice organisation, it can be a good idea to visit some other stands first to practice your technique.
- If you are given a business card, make a point soon afterwards of noting on it anything that it would be useful to remember. Have they suggested you email them with further questions? Did they give you advice on their recruitment process?
- Even if you have a ‘hit list’ of exhibitors, consider other organisations at the fair that are less well known. They might be offering just what you’re looking for.
Here are some additional top-tips:
- Remember that many of the opportunities are available to students of any degree discipline
- If you want to have a CV ready to hand over, arrange an appointment at UCL Careers before the Careers Fair to ask for some CV feedback
- The fair may be busy when you arrive – don’t be put off. People tend to congregate by the entrance, so head to another part of the fair where it will probably be quieter
- Avoid walking round the fair with a group of friends. The exhibitor may not realise that you’re interested in them, and you could miss out because your friend happens to be more talkative than you!
- If you feel overwhelmed, and don’t know what to do or where to start, make sure you visit the UCL Careers stand for help.
- Staff on the exhibitor stands can often be relatively recent graduates who can tell you what it’s really like to work in their organisation. They may even refer to particular projects that they’ve been involved in or training that they’ve had – all of which is great information for you to use when you apply for a position at their company. This insight is not available on any website and creates a unique impression when it is your time to apply.
- In a competitive job market, it can make a difference to refer to any interaction with employers (including specific names) during the application process
Finally, remember to bring your UCL ID card as you won’t be able to enter the fair without this!
For further information about the fairs, please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs