There are so many different careers events at this time of year that you could easily attend a different one every day of the week. However, if you are going to take time to attend you need to ensure you get what you want out of it.
For some, striking up a conversation is easy; for others the thought of talking to someone you don’t know will fill you with dread. Regardless of which of these camps you fall into, to get the most from these events you need to think about what you want to ask the employers and how you are going to present yourself.
What do you want to ask?
I have attended many many careers events – initially as a student and then when I was working in graduate recruitment for Mars. More recently I have run events such as EXPLORE THE LAW and INVESTING IN TALENT for recruiters and have also attended careers fairs with MyPlus Students’ Club. The students who have made the most impact are those who have obviously thought about their questions and have asked them confidently and articulately. They haven’t necessarily been the loudest or most extrovert in the room, but they have clearly prepared and thought about what they want to ask and how they wish to present themselves.
You don’t need to shy away from asking disability specific questions. However, recognise that those present may not be experts in this area and therefore may only have top line information they can share. In these situations, it is worth getting their contact details so you can email and ask them to put you in touch with the person best placed to answer your questions.
Find out who is going to be at the careers fair and do some basic research on the companies you wish to speak to.
When starting a conversation, introduce yourself – for example: “I’m Helen and I am a first year economics student at the University of Bristol”.
Ask questions about disability if you wish to do so however recognise that those present may not be the experts in their organisation.
Always get the other person’s contact details, rather than giving them yours – that way you can be responsible for making contact going forward.