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How can you benefit from attending career fairs

There are many great benefits of attending careers fairs. The most obvious being that there’s a chance we might walk away with a job. However, they can offer other benefits which don’t immediately jump out at us, from expanding our networks to researching potential employers and different careers in IT. Take a look at some of our top tips and suggestions to get the most out of your next careers fair.

Making connections

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t leave with a job. Most employers won’t offer one on the day, but will build up a prospective candidate pipeline to review every so often. The people you’re speaking to at the fair are your new point of contact for the company, so take advantage of this opportunity to network. If you can, collect business cards or contact information and follow up with them every-so-often to show you’re keen. The more names and connections you have, the more chances you have of making the right impression to the right person.

Speaking and building relationships is a skill that can be used anywhere. If you’re not the most confident person, this is a unique chance to practice networking and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Smile, be enthusiastic, yet professional, and speak to as many employers as you can. Each time it will take a little less effort. It’s a good idea to prioritise the employers you’re most interested in, but speak to two or three others before hand to ease yourself in.

Exploring your options

If you’ve never worked in a particular role, sector or in IT before, this is your chance to ask a lot of questions. You’ll have access to advice and guidance from the people doing the work you’re interested in, so find out as much as possible to help you with your choice. Perhaps you’ll learn something which completely puts you off, shows you an alternative path that you haven’t considered, or confirms this is the job for you.

A careers fair isn’t just an employer’s chance to get to know you, it goes both ways. Businesses have different cultures, ways of working, benefits, career paths and salaries. It’s not uncommon for you to be well-matched with the job you’ve had your eye on, but feel out of sync with the company you’d be working for. This is your chance to dig deeper into the values and ethos of the employer and explore whether you’re a good fit. A company you might not have considered, for example, because it pays less, may be more tuned to your personality and offer a more progressive future.

All in all, it’s important to go into the careers fair with a clear aim in mind. What do you want to get out of it? What questions need answering? Which employers are you interested in? The answers you receive could ultimately help you make an informed decision about your future in IT. When taking everything into account, you might end up leaving with a better-suited career than the one you originally thought. So, plan ahead and make a list of the employers attending, arrive early and prepare questions. A better impression will return better results. You might also pick up some freebies along the way!

Read our related blog: How to make your CV stand out

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