Former Cardiff Uni graduate Clare, now Senior Student Recruitment Associate at EY, advises on how you can make yourself stand out at a careers fair.
With the Big Grad Fair only days away, I got to thinking back to my time as a Social Science student at Cardiff University, before I joined EY in 2016. How many evenings have you spent so far this year at a company networking event or day’s at a careers fair? Maybe you’ve handed out countless CVs or perhaps you’ve spent a long time chatting to someone who works for your dream company? You may have made a great impression, but what comes next?
We are constantly told that the job market is extremely competitive, so to really stand out you can’t just stop there. What are you going to do to improve your chances further and really stand out? You can go the extra step to help employers realise what a great candidate you are.
There are three main actions that you can do after meeting an employer on campus, whether it’s at a skills or panel session, careers fair or networking evening.
1. Organise yourself
You may have spoken to a lot of people at the event you attended. Make sure you keep track of the contacts you made, who you spoke to and also the information the employer gave you. Excel is a great way to do this. Record down contact details, any questions you didn’t get to ask and opportunities you are interested in. You can use this document to monitor your applications and the different stages of the application process once you have applied.
2. Don’t hesitate too much
Get in touch earlier rather than later. Employers will speak to hundreds of students every week. If you are going to follow up on your meeting, make sure that you don’t wait too long. Just make sure that you don’t come across too keen! I recommend that you use social media the day after the event and emails/phone calls a few days afterwards.
There are different ways that you can get in touch with employers:
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, what are you waiting for? LinkedIn is the ‘Facebook for professionals’. Most recruiters will have a profile and you can get in touch. Remember to always write a personal message stating where you met them and any questions you might have.
Did you manage to get the contact’s email address at the event? If so, send them a thank you email and state that you would like to stay in touch. Be polite, and concise with your response and any questions. Don’t expect a response straight away. Often employers have multiple different deadlines at once so contacting a student might not be at the top of their list.
Call us old school, but sometimes a telephone call can be the best form of communication. You are able to establish a proper relationship and build on what you spoke about at the event. Don’t take up too much of the contact’s time and don’t keep ringing each week. Use it as a great way of getting in touch and finding out more.
Twitter is a fantastic way of staying in touch. Send a quick tweet after the event with a key piece of information that you took away. You can always tweet before the event also. This acts as a touching point so they may recognise you when you attend.
3. Reflect on your progress
You may have thought that you really made an impact at the event you attended but what could you do to make yourself stand out even more? Sit down and try to outline your key improvement opportunities. There are a few things you can think about:
• Did you prepare well enough?
• Were there opportunities at the company that you were interested in?
• Were you confident when speaking to the employees?
• What went well?
• What did you start off with? Did you have a great personal introduction prepared?
• What would you do differently?
Interacting with an employer on campus is a great opportunity and often where most students will realise what they want to do or where they want to work. Make the most of the events held by your careers service and university and always do your research on a company before and after coming into contact with them. If you follow the three actions above, you can only build and develop your commercial awareness and social skills. Enjoy the events you attend on campus (look forward to seeing you at the Big Grad Fair) and good luck with any applications you are sending off!
Find out more…
The Big Graduate Fair is being sponsored by EY and is the perfect opportunity to find out about employers with ready-to-fill vacancies as well as graduate programmes opening in the summer. Make sure you click *Going* on the Facebook event to receive all the latest updates about the fair and to book your places for any talks taking place on the day, including Success at Selection: Strength Based Interview Questions with EY. More information about the employers attending can be found on the intranet also.
The Big Graduate Fair will take place on Friday 27 April, 11:00 – 15:00 in the Great Hall, 1st Floor Students’ Union. See you there!
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Clare Tomkins, Senior Student Recruitment Associate, EY
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