Be A Careers Fair Ninja

“Great things never came from comfort zones.” – Anonymous

Time to meet your future colleagues!

Careers fairs will be kicking off around Australia this week - see our last post (link) for a downloadable spreadsheet with all the key dates. In this article we give you important tips to ensure you get the most out of these events (and not waste it like the majority of people do).

So these events bring all of the country’s greatest and largest employers together in one spot, allowing you to speak directly to major company representatives. And they’re all looking to hire new talent.

Below are five tips which will help you get what you want and make the most out of this valuable opportunity.

Tip One - Don’t look like you just rolled out of bed

So you won’t be expected to rock up in a full suit and tie, but looking like you just rolled out of bed and dragged yourself to the careers fair will not help you make a good impression.

It is safer to dress more on the conservative side for these events. For both guys and girls, this means wearing clean, smart looking clothes (YES to collared shirts, blouses and well fitted clothes, NO to street wear, too much skin and clubbing outfits). Use your common sense and put yourself in the employers shoes… what type of look would impress you about a candidate?

Tip Two - Do SOME damn preparation

The majority of attendees will not do any form of preparation and will ask all employers the same questions. The company reps will hear the same 3 questions 100+ times over the course of the day. Try to be informed... even a tiny bit of preparation will help make you stand out from the sea of attendees.

Research the company, any recent news articles that mention them and the specific team which you are interested in. Be sure to check out the employer’s website and graduate recruitment page as this will probably contain answers to 90% of the generic questions that will get asked by your peers.

Prepare your own “Elevator Pitch”, a brief introduction script (30 seconds to 1 minute long) which you can use to provide a quick summary of your background and aspirations.

Example: “Hi, my name is [Name]. I’m a final year student at [University Name] studying [Finance] and I’m really interested in joining [Company Name] and would love to hear about your experience so far”

The goal here is to allow the company representative to very quickly understand your situation so that they can help guide you as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Tip Three - Ditch the campus recruitment representative

Each employer will usually have someone from the campus recruitment team and a few staff who work in the operational teams (ie. the actual teams that will be looking to hire graduates).

While many attendees will hone in on the campus recruitment representatives, it is far more valuable to spend time with the business reps who are actually in the team you’re looking to join.

Tip Four - Prioritise getting names and insights

Whilst your ultimate win means being remembered positively by the person who will review your application or do your interview ... the chances of that are pretty low and largely out of your control.

What is 100% in your control is coming out of a discussion with valuable information you can use to improve your chances of getting your application to stand out.

Getting the names of people in the team you are applying for is super valuable as you can include this both in your application and mention it in your interviews. This shows that you’ve put in the effort to meet the team and care enough about them to remember their names. The saying is very much true… “It’s not what you know… but who you know”.

LinkedIn adds are good but not essential, however … just like the dating scene (before Tinder and Bumble), if you really vibe well with someone, you want to be able to quickly connect with them to stay in touch (ie. a coffee or casual catchup later on)... and LinkedIn is best for this.

Obtaining inside intel or insights which you can use in your application and interviews is really valuable as it shows you’ve spent time researching and thinking about the issues faced by the company. This can be anything from specific aspects about the culture (ie. the team do an annual away day) to business issues (ie. the team recently completed a large project for the Victorian Government).

Tip Five - Make a REAL connection

This is the holy grail of professional networking and something that can take a long time to become good at. The best candidates we’ve met are excellent at this. Simple put... people want to work with people they find interesting and get along with.

There are quite a few golden principles and tips on how to do this in our Aced It Guide ... but in brief, you should seek to execute on the following:

  • Show some personality

  • Show passion and energy

  • Find common interests or get them to speak about things of interest to them

At the end of the day… the company representatives will remember the people they had a good conversation with (and not the ones they repeated their generic answers to for the 100th time).

Follow the five tips above and you will be a weapon at the careers fairs.

As always, feel free to get in touch with us on social media with your questions or comments.

Good luck!