Helen Mc Nally, from the Careers & Employability Team shares her thoughts on Preparing to meet Recruiters …
At Cardiff, the autumn term is bursting with opportunities to meet employers at careers fairs, campus events and employer presentations. Rather than occasions just to sit back and listen, these events are fantastic opportunities for you to make an impression on your potential future employer. Most graduate recruiters keep a list at careers events of those students who have impressed them, as well as those they’d rather not see again so use our tips below to make sure that the first impression you make is a positive one!
- Be prepared! If you do a bit of research before attending an employer event/fair, you will
- feel more confident about asking questions
- be able to ask more appropriate questions demonstrating how switched on you are
- stand a better chance of impressing an employer
- Before attending a careers fair, find out which organisations are attending. Look at the exhibitor list and decide on your priority employers – this way you can avoid wasting time wandering around aimlessly… Look at employer websites to make sure you know which business areas they cover, their size, location, recruitment process etc
- Think about questions you want to ask. Write them down if you think your mind may go blank when faced with the Head of Recruitment, or with a Partner in a law firm. Remember that you may need to prepare different types of questions to ask graduate recruitment teams, professionals, and graduate trainees. If you are talking with an engineering firm for instance, a senior engineer may not be able to answer questions about the minutiae of the selection criteria at the assessment centre, and the Graduate Recruitment Adviser is unlikely to understand the ins and outs of your project on the implementation of dynamic actuators’.
- Consider how you will introduce yourself – for instance, ‘ Hello, my name’s David Jones, Second Year Business Management student, and I’m interested in your organisation because…’
- On the day of a careers fair, arrive in good time – employers will be exhausted by the last half hour. Dress appropriately to meet professional people. A full suit isn’t necessary at most careers fairs, but aim for smart work wear – no shorts, flip flops, or revealing clothes.
- Don’t just grab the brochure/freebies and sneak away – this is a pet hate amongst graduate recruiters, along with visiting employer stands in large mobs, and coming accompanied by your parents.
Your opportunities to impress graduate employers are not limited to careers fairs. By attending careers talks and employer presentations you can make a positive impression by posing an interesting question, or by asking about a recent development, deal, new product or press release. This will show an employer that you are motivated and enthusiastic enough to have done some research into the organisation beforehand.
If you attend an employer talk on campus and later apply to that organisation, make sure you refer to the talk in your application. If you managed to speak to the employer, mention this too (for instance: “Having attended a careers presentation by Fred Bloggs from XXX organisation at Cardiff University, I was interested in hearing about the company’s involvement in ….” ). This will demonstrate that you have maximised opportunities to find out as much as you can about the employer, and may help your application to stand out – particularly if you made a good impression on the day.
For a list of employer events, presentations and fairs taking place at Cardiff during the autumn term, check out the What’s On section of our website at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/careers/whats-on/
Put these tips into practice at our forthcoming Careers Fair, starting Tues 14th October!
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