Tutorial: Job fairs

Whether it's virtual or face-to-face, it's a great opportunity to find jobs or make contacts. But facing a room full of employers can be a bit intimidating.

Don’t panic. Our tutorial is packed with advice to take you through.


Find out who’s going to be there

Good preparation helps on the day. There should be a list of exhibitors to look over in advance. Pick out employers you know you definitely want to chat to.

This helps you plan your day, and do some background research. Employers might see hundreds (or thousands!) of other people that day. If you impress them by referring to a new product, you could stand out. This also helps you ask more detailed questions.


Create or update your CV

A lot of exhibitors won’t accept CVs on the day. But writing yours will mean it’s fresh in your mind. This helps when you’re talking about yourself. Try the CV builder in your account.


Choose your wardrobe

You don’t have to wear a suit, but you do want to make a good impression. Even if it's a virtual conference, wear something smart. For example, proper shoes and trousers are probably a winner over jeans and trainers. As are blazers over hoodies. 


Have a notepad handy

And a pen. Taking notes will help. Write down the answers to any questions you ask and any tips you’re given. It’s also useful for application deadlines and contact details.


Don’t be nervous

Employers aren’t there to judge you or make you uncomfortable. They’re there to answer your questions and help you.


Say hello

This is your chance to speak with potential employers. Don’t just take leaflets and smile. Introduce yourself, and tell them about what you’ve got to offer.


Ask the right questions

You can find out the basics from a website or leaflet. Use this opportunity to dig deeper. Plan out some questions and find out how you can make your application stronger. If there’s a particular department or recruitment drive you want to know about, make sure you ask for details. Ask them what makes a good candidate. You could turn this back to a conversation about your own skills.


Get advice

As well as employers, there will be people from other organisations (like careers advisers). Find out if there are any workshops running. Ask about things like CVs, application forms and interviews.


Virtual job fairs

If you're attending an online job fair, make sure to check your webcam and microphone in advance. Get dressed like you would if you were meeting the employers in person. Think about your surroundings, make sure there's nothing too distracting in the background and try to limit noise interruption if you can. Another top tip is to remember to look into the camera when you're speaking to someone.


Get in touch

Got business cards or contact details? Send them a quick thank you after the event. An email saying thanks for their time, attaching your CV, keeps the contact open. You can also ask them to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure they keep you in mind if anything comes up.


Follow up

If you’ve heard about specific roles at the fair, make sure you look them up. Use your notes to help you make a strong application. Let the person you spoke to at the fair know you've applied, and thank them for their help.


A final tip

If you're a student or recent graduate, talk to your university careers service. They'll offer guidance and may run preparation sessions for graduate fairs. Check if there's one you can attend.