Home > Employment > Stand out from the crowd at careers fairs – 10 top tips.

Stand out from the crowd at careers fairs – 10 top tips.


If you’ve nearly finished your degree course, attending a careers fair where you can meet a lot of employers in a short time is a great way to boost your job search. However fairs are always busy and crowded so how can you stand out from the hundreds of other eager students? A little preparation will go a very long way, so read on for top tips on how to get the most from a careers fair.

The week before:

1. Decide which employers you want to target. Check the fair website to see which employers are attending and what jobs they are offering. Keep checking the website as sometimes there are last-minute changes if employers make late bookings or drop out.

2. Research your target employers and their jobs. Employers are always impressed by candidates who already know something about them. If you walk up to a stand and ask detailed questions about the jobs they have on offer it will show you’re motivated and not just “window-shopping”.

3. Work out what else do you want to know. Do you have any questions that aren’t covered on the employer’s website? Whether you need more detail about job opportunities or want to know more about an employer’s selection process, a fair is a great way to get answers.

4. Update your CV. Some employers at the fair will be collecting CVs. Give yourself time to put together a targeted CV and print some good quality copies. You can get your CV reviewed at the Careers, Employment and Enterprise Service but don’t leave this to the last minute in case you need to make any changes.

5. Practise your “elevator pitch”. Decide what you will say to introduce yourself and consider how you will explain what you’re interested in. Make sure you have thought about any relevant skills and experience you have so that you can build these into your conversations with employers. Practise your handshake and don’t forget to make eye contact and smile!

6. Decide what to wear. It’s not compulsory, but dressing smartly always gives a good impression. You don’t have to wear a suit but dress appropriately for the jobs that interest you. Don’t leave it until the night before to plan your outfit in case you discover your jacket needs cleaning or you’ve run out of shoe polish!

On the day:

7. Arrive early. Fairs often get quieter later in the day and, if this happens, some employers will leave early. To avoid missing out try to arrive as early as you can; ideally try to get there at least two hours before the end of the fair

8. Don’t go straight to your first choice employer. Practice makes perfect so, if you’re feeling nervous, head for an employer that you’re less interested in. This way you can have a trial run at introducing yourself and talking to the company’s staff.

9. Keep your eyes open. Some employer stands will be busy all the time but others won’t, so don’t have a rigid plan for the day. If one stand is very busy try visiting another that is quieter and come back later.

10. Take a break. Careers fairs are busy and tiring so don’t feel you have to go straight from one employer stand to another. Allow time for a quick break every so often so you can reflect on what went well and record any information you want to remember.

All employers attending careers fairs are keen to meet new graduates and, although recruiters won’t be giving out job offers on the day, many will be collecting CVs and some may even be on the lookout for impressive candidates to fast-track through their recruitment process. Get your preparation right and the careers fair could be the day that you meet your new boss!

Suzanne Ball is Careers Adviser for the School of Health & Social Work and the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire.  She regularly tweets on all things creative via @careerview.

  1. 10/11/2015 at 14:23

    What can i do with my degree in civic and ethical studies? Please help me!

  2. 10/11/2015 at 14:26

    What are the career opportunities do degree in civic and ethical studies graduates have?

    • 11/11/2015 at 09:50

      Hi – if you’re a student or recent graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, you’re very welcome to book an appointment to discuss your career options. Just log in to CareerHub to book: https://www.careerhub.herts.ac.uk.

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