Preparing for the fairs as a graduate

Next week our autumn fairs are taking place in Manchester Central. The Business Finance & Management  fair takes place on Tuesday 20th and The Engineering, Science & Technology fair takes place on Wednesday 21st.  As the events team at the Careers Service put the finishing touches to the venue and employers organise travel for their representatives it’s important that you also prepare to attend. So what do you need to be doing  and when?BusiFiMan Logo

What you can do now

  • Register to attend! This seams a good (and very obvious) place to start! You can register to attend the fairs on our website, just click on the fair/s you want to attend and you’ll see an option to ‘register to attend’. You can register at the venue on the day but it probably quicker and easier for you to register in advance.
  • Research employers Recruitment fairs like these can be very hectic and it’s best to have a plan of action (or attack) before you arrive. Think about what you want out of the day – are you are looking to find out more about the sector in general, graduate schemes starting in 2016 and/or employers that have immediate start jobs?  Use the exhibitor lists available for both the Business and Engineering fairs to find out which employers will be attending the fair and, what opportunities they have and whether these opportunities are suitable forEngSciTech Logo you. Once you have narrowed down the employers you are interested speaking to do some more research on the companies as a whole and the opportunities that are available – along with graduate directors such as the Times top 100 and Guardian 300 employer websites are a great tool to do this.
  • Prepare questions to ask These fair are a great opportunity to ask employers questions and find out more about the opportunities they have. Employers will not be impressed if you ask simple questions which could be answered by looking on their website so do your research first.  For example instead of simply asking ‘what opportunities do you have?’  You could ask ‘I’ve seen on your website you have a XXXX scheme can you tell  me a little bit more about what I would be doing on a day to day basis?’ The fairs are a great opportunity to find out the personal; experiences of the organisations employees by asking them questions such as ‘Did you start on the graduate training scheme yourself? How did you find it?’Remember to make a note of who you spoke to at each stand and what you spoke about. You can then refer to having spoken to them in any further application you make to the company.
  • Update your CV I always think it’s a good idea to take copies of your CV to fairs like this. You don’t want to be caught short (of CVs that is) if an employer asks for one! Even if an employer requires you to make a formal application through their website your CV can act like our business card, reminding the employer of the skills and experiences that you have.You’ll need to tailor your CV to each employer you are interested in working for. As part of your research find out what skills and experiences they are looking for and ensure you highlight them on each CV. Use our CV guide to help you do this. Remember if you are planning on handing out multiple CVs remember to give the right one to each employer!

What to do the night before

  • Get your outfit ready As the saying goes you only have one chance to make a good first impression so we’d recommend dressing as smartly as possible when attending the fair. Suits are a safe option for guys as is a smart trouser/ skirt and blouse/shirt combo for girls. So you’re not rushing about on the morning of the event I’d suggest getting your outfit prepared the night before and giving it a good iron if necessary. Ladies also remember to wear sensible shoes you can walk in- They don’t have to be flat but I’d suggest leaving the skyscrapers at home!
  • Plan your journey The fairs are both being held in Manchester Central (formally the GMEX) located in the City Centre. You can get there by car or public transport. Details can be found here.

What to do on the day

  • Arrive early Both fairs run 10.30am until 4pm and get very busy.  Having said this it’s usually quieter in the mornings so if you want to be guaranteed the chance to have a good chat with employers it’s probably best to arrive in the morning.
  • Remember to pick up your free fair guide When you arrive we’ll give you a fair guide for the day. It’s full of really useful information that will help you make the most of the day. The guide including the stand numbers of all the employers in attendance so you can make your way easily to the employers you are interested in!


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