How to get the most out of a careers fair at a UK university

As Autumn approaches and students settle into university life, moving to a new country and adapting to learning in the UK, events are starting at institutions to help with your career. This term you will start to see information released for careers fairs at your university and whether you’re in your first or last year of study, it’s important to take notice and follow a few guidelines to make the most out of these events.

What to expect

Careers Fairs are large-scale events which usually take place on your university campus where employers and services are invited to meet students, share information and recruit for jobs at their company. Firstly, look on your university website to search for the event or speak to your careers team so you don’t miss it. Once you’ve found the details, check if you need to register online and sign up to any talks or meet and greets you’re interested in. It’s a good idea to look at the layout of the event before you arrive as some fairs can be a bit overwhelming once you get there so a clear plan will help you.

First Year Students

If you’re in your first year of study, finding a graduate role might feel like something for the future, but to put yourself in the best position we’d advise attending a fair in your first year. This will allow you to do a test run. Have a look at the employers who will be attending and pick out a few you’re interested in. Speaking to an employer before you’re looking for a job puts you in a great position as you can ask some questions without too much pressure. Look for companies in your industry and ask questions about the role that could help you decide if it’s the right path for you. This could include what skills they look for in candidates so that you can try to work towards these over the course of your degree or about the company itself.

Second and Third year students

If you’ve completed your first year of study, try to focus on what you can take away from the event such as a new contact, a conversation with a potential employer or new piece of information from the day. These events are a great opportunity to put yourself in front of hiring employers and start to show your talent. They give you direct access to companies and the ability to ask questions face-to-face about their business, hiring techniques and company culture. Careers fairs are also a good way to practice your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short description of something, in this case yourself, delivered in a short space of time. The idea is that if you were talking to someone in an elevator, by the time you reached the top floor they would have an understanding of the key points. Practising this type of networking skill can help you gain confidence in talking to employers and selling yourself in a business setting.

Even if you’re unsure of what to expect, try to attend at least one careers event each year to gain access to employers and career opportunities. Take along some friends and try networking with those in your industry and start building your confidence in speaking about your international talent. For more careers advice tailored to the region you want to work in, register with GradLink today for free access to our database of employers looking for international talent!

By Jen Garmston Published: Oct 05,2023

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