Your Futures Festival: Get the 'feel-good' factor

Employability Service

Category: Staff

27 October 2021

Futures Festival is our new, annual, all-course, all-campus online careers event - but is preparing for a virtual careers fair all about packing your virtual wellies and cashing in virtual beer vouchers?

Sorry but no, mostly because this event is about meeting your potential future employers - who may not be best impressed by wellies and beer, virtual or otherwise. However, the Futures Festival programme is filled with lots of exciting things that are worth preparing for!

"Preparation prior to a careers fair allows you to be your best self without worrying about who you are going to meet and what you are going to say."
Emma Evans
Employability Consultant, School of Management, Swansea University (via Prospects)

Realise the value of attending

A hand holding a phone with the words 'opportunity knocks' displayed on the screen

Understanding why you want to attend will help you focus and get the most from your experience. You’ll connect with employers, learn about different jobs, gain insights from experienced professionals - and get a heads up on the applying process. All great stuff.

And it’s not just about graduate employment. Organisations can offer taster days, work experience, training opportunities or part-time roles to boost your CV and give you the skills employers love to see. Ten days of events means ten great chances to make a real difference to your future!

Research

This is so important. You don’t need the 2+ hours we recommend before a job interview but have a look at the organisations attending and skip over to their websites and social media so you know something about them before you meet. This will also help you think of great questions to ask. We’ve made this easier for you by including a Meet the Employers page in our Futures Festival webpages.

Network

As you can see, ‘network’ is not a four-letter word and it’s what events like Futures Festival are all about! Apart from the jobs you hear about at the Festival, don’t forget about the jobs you’ll never see. According to Guardian Careers, 90% of UK employers now use social media to find staff and many senior positions are more likely to be filled by word of mouth. Attending events and meeting with employers significantly improves your employability and the chance of getting the job you want!

"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

Make a great impression

Back view of a woman using a laptop

Employers LOVE to meet you and the Festival gives you a chance to meet less formally than the interview room. However, remember that they walk away from these events with an impression of you and ARU students as a whole, so how you present yourself is important. Follow these pointers to make sure you log off from your event feeling #ARUProud:

  • Be ready to switch your camera on. You don’t have to, but the people you’re meeting are very real and nobody likes to be the only person in the room. Think about your virtual background, dress smart-casual and remember that positive body language such as smiling and good eye-contact is a great way to build rapport.
  • Be ready to ask questions and be polite and positive. You might want to ask about a more challenging aspect of the organisation, and that’s fine, so long as you think about how to ask. Employers are enthusiastic to see you and answer your questions, but if they can’t offer you the exact placement opportunity you’ve just asked for, it’s more polite to thank them anyway than just click ‘leave’ and walk out that virtual door.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch. You could be the candidate the employer really wants to meet but how will they know if you don’t tell them? A 60 second summary of who you are, what you do and what your goals are can tell an employer so much about why you’re interested in them - and why they should be interested in you. To get help with this, see our expert advice on how to structure an elevator pitch.

Finally, follow up!

Very few attendees do this and it can make all the difference. Keep notes on what you have learned about the company, make contacts through LinkedIn, and mention your attendance at the Festival in any future communication. This makes you look focussed and professional - and means you pocket something more from this fantastic experience than just great memories!

A student in profile against a busy orange background with the words 'Futures Festival - 01-12 November - Where can your career go?'

If you have any questions about the upcoming Futures Festival, please contact employability@aru.ac.uk

Rebecca Pardue, Employability & Careers Adviser




Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.