It was evident from the packed fair that getting a job as a graduate is much harder than it used to be. But meeting the grads got us thinking that there are a few quite simple ways to put yourself ahead of the crowd. Grads, if you’re reading, here are a few tips for your next fair...
Do target the employers you want to work for and find out about them before you go. Rocking up at someone’s stand saying: “Can you explain exactly what you do?” isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t understand what a company does, they’re not going to consider you for a job. Believe me.
Don’t forget your CV. It’s an essential piece of kit at a grad fair. And don’t fold it up into a tiny square in order to fit it in your tiny handbag, or roll it inexplicably into a ball. Invest in a plastic wallet or two.
Do be keen. A prompt post-fair email won’t hurt.
Don’t reply “employment” when a prospective employer asks you what you’re looking for. It may be true, but what employers want to hear is that you really, really want to do whatever it is they do.
Don’t say “I’ve got a degree” when you’re asked what writing you’ve done, or for an example of any other type of work experience. It’s a graduate fair. Everyone’s got a degree.
Do bring along examples of your work or include links to them in your CV. Employers want to see the evidence of your skills.
Don’t look rubbish. First impressions matter at a grad fair, just as they do at a job interview. People remember what you look like and how you present yourself. So look smart – for men, a suit never hurts and shows you’re taking the whole thing seriously.