It’s now easier than ever to mingle with potential employers as ARU Careers Fairs go virtual for the first time this year. However, the thought of meeting relative strangers can be daunting. This blog will help you prepare for Fairs and embrace these exciting networking opportunities…
Seize the opportunity
Imagine a room full of employers who can’t wait to hear about you, your degree, and your career goals. That’s exactly what careers fairs are: an opportunity to shine and to meet potential colleagues. If you can remember these people actually WANT to meet you, perhaps it will help you relax a little.
"I always think these events are useful just to get the opportunity to network with people. I have secured all my work experience so far via networking events at Uni” (ARU Business Management student)
Do your research
Find out who will be there by exploring the event information on the Career Centre and visit their website and social media. Remember this is an opportunity to ask people who work there about their organisation. So, invest time in research and you’ll then be able to ask questions which help you to make informed decisions about which organisations you’d like to apply for.
Prepare for online networking
Always network with your camera on if you possibly can. Not only will this help you to be noticed by potential employers, it also shows you are keen to meet them. You may not have the perfect space to meet people but we’re all in this together, everyone understands, and the most important thing is to have that face to face interaction to help build positive relationships.
"We’re aware that students may be concerned about their video background or about family or housemates being in the same room, but they shouldn’t be. Most recruiters are working from home so understand the difficulties and will be considerate. They want to see that students will play an active role in the virtual event." (LawCareers.Net)
That said, you can control what you wear so do give some thought to your appearance on the day and prepare ahead. Business suits are not usually necessary and smart/casual is fine. Introduce yourself via the meeting Chat box to let them know if you have a question. Then unmute your mic to ask your question personally (if possible) and thank them for their information when they reply. Avoid eating or using your phone while on camera! Your enthusiasm, smile and questions that show your company research will give a great first impression.
“We love coming to the ARU Fair as students are well prepared and very engaging” (Employer at Campus Job Opportunities Fair)
Prepare to follow up
After the Fair, follow up immediately so that they don’t forget you and you don’t forget them. Send a personalised LinkedIn request reminding them of when you met them and thanking them for their time. These connections are precious resources, so make sure you nurture them carefully.
We hope you really enjoy taking the time out to do something for your future. You can register on Career Centre for ARU Careers Fairs and other employer-online events here, so sign up now!
By Khrieu Healy
Employability & Careers Adviser