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Sep 4, 2018

Careers Fairs: Maximise The Opportunities


Giles O'Halloran shares his expert insight into making the most of your attendance at careers and recruitment fairs...

Careers and Recruitment Fairs offer you the chance to meet and interact with employers, ask questions and discuss opportunities, in person. In order to extract the maximum benefit from the experience, you need to prepare a plan and consider what you want to get out of any discussions, company stands or presentations you might attend.

The event may be one day, a few hours or over several days, so it is worth considering the size and types of organisations that are attending - you can then understand more about who you might be meeting. Most events will post details online in advance. Some even help you network and connect via apps so that you can start to network prior to the event.

Recruitment and careers events are not just about companies putting up stands to sell you their wares and opportunities. They represent an opportunity to share information about you with the organisations attending. Therefore, make sure you go armed to the teeth with CVs (perhaps hard copy in a file holder or softcopy on a mobile phone folder), prep your mobile for taking contact numbers/details, and have a stack of personal business cards (perhaps with a QReader or other online link to data about you) ready for distribution.

Take the opportunity to speak to the stallholders, get a feel for the company and understand more about the opportunities they may have. More often than not there is a mix of people on the stands, some being HR or recruitment, others being employees doing the job you might want to do. Some may even invite you to connect on LinkedIn or elsewhere.

Be sure to consider the wider picture. It's not only employers that attend these events, you will also find recruiters, as well as trade or professional associations. The stands and stalls are just one way to connect - consider who else might be there as they could also become useful additions to your network and your jobsearch.

You are there to gather intelligence and information on the roles offered by different organisations, but there is more you can learn. What skills, experience, and qualifications do they look for? What does the application process look like? Are they able to share any tips or key contacts? Consider in advance the sort of questions you want to ask and don’t be afraid to ask them - they could help you gain that all important edge on the competition. Be sure to spend time around the coffee bars, the wireless lounges, and other touch points where you can connect with others.

Finally, do not forget the all important follow-ups after the event, and remember, the more fresh the follow up, the more likely and productive the possible outcome. If you speak to a recruiter and want to consider applying for roles, do so whilst the information is still fresh in your mind. If you agreed to connect online and share with someone, or perhaps send your CV to a recruiter you met at the coffee bar, do so as soon as possible. Following up maintains momentum and strengthens the connection.

About The Author

Giles O'Halloran is an experienced HR and Recruitment professional who works as a freelance consultant, strategist, writer and coach. He also spent 12 years as a reservist with the UK's Reserve Forces, serving first with the TA and later with the RAuxAF. Giles is passionate about technology, the value of networks and the future of work.

go2gilesohalloran@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/GilesOHalloran

https://www.linkedin.com/in/giles-o-halloran

 

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