How to get the most out of a job and career fair
Marianne Bom & Rie Jerichow, Publicér
A job and career fair can seem unmanageable, with a lot of companies and a ton of other students. Here is some advice from career counsellor Annika Camilla Jørgensen from AAU Karriere on how to make the most of the fair, regardless of whether you are looking for full-time employment, a study job, internship, or a collaboration on a project.
BEFORE THE FAIR: PREPARE
Is it necessary to prepare before you show up at the fair?
“Yes, because if you do not prepare, it will be an unfocused visit, where you wander restlessly, without really speaking to any companies. You may waste two hours, and at best you get some merchandise and candy,” says career counsellor Annika Camilla Jørgensen from AAU Karriere.
How do you prepare?
“The preparation is about getting an overview of which companies will be there and what they are searching for. You also have to consider what you want to achieve by talking to them and how you present your strong competences. Before a job and career fair, it may be a good idea to sign up for one of the preparing seminars hosted by the universities or DSE. They can help clear up which competences you have, which companies it will be beneficial to contact and how to present yourself in the best way for the companies you are interested in. You can also prepare alone, but more people benefit from talking to others, and seeing it through their eyes. It can also be a good idea to look through your résumé and adjusting it, so it clearly states how you are qualified for the job or internship that you hope to get.”
How do you prepare to meet the companies?
“There may be 100 companies there, which means it may be a good idea to pick out a handful that you want to talk to in advance. Look at what the companies have written in the fair catalogue, and try to figure out what they are looking for and why they are at the fair. Read their website to see how they describe themselves and what is going on right now. You can also google a bit, because there may be a new event that can serve as a good opener. For instance, did they just win a big project, or are they opening a branch in China? That sort of information can be a good opener for a good conversation at the fair, which can help you state your competences: “I saw that you are starting up with ‘this and that’, and I actually have a background where I worked with that exactly.” The more you know about the company, the better you can deliver a relevant message.”
Should you also prepare your outfit and appearance?
“Yes, it is a good idea to look at yourself in the mirror before you leave home. Do you look fairly presentable, so you can show up nicely, neatly, and with a pleasant smell? You do not have to wear a suit or a blazer, just some nice clothes that you feel comfortable in.”
Is there anything it could be a good idea to bring?
“Yes, it is a good idea to bring a résumé. It’s not like you have to hand out 100 résumés, and some companies only want résumés digitally. But it can be nice to bring and present while you speak. And of course, it is great to have it if anyone wants to take it home.”
DURING THE FAIR: USE BOTH MOUTH AND EARS
Who from the company do you meet?
How do you tackle the visit at the fair?
What advice can you give to a shy or introverted person?
Should you be aware of your body language?
AFTER THE FAIR: FOLLOW UP
What could be a good idea to do after the fair?