In our last blog entry Relationship Manager, Sara Williams, talks you through how to best prepare for the annual Cass MSc careers fair….
About the Fair:
Cass holds its annual careers fair for MSc students during the induction period before term begins – this year it is taking place on Friday 29th of September and full details will be given in your induction presentation as well in the fair guidebook you will receive in the induction week.
Careers fairs give you the chance to meet employers face-to-face, and to learn about current vacancies and opportunities available. The recruiters are trying to market their organisations to you. However, the Careers fair is also an opportunity for you to market yourself to potential employers.
Why do we hold it so early?
We hold it at this time because many of the employers attending the fair will have already opened their graduate recruitment process and many will have deadlines for applications in October / November.
How to prepare:
It can be difficult for students to stand out at Fairs as there are so many people there and it can seem overwhelming. Being prepared therefore is the best way to make a good impression and get noticed.
Do your research
Do your research beforehand so you can use the time during the fair to ask intelligent, business-focused questions to company representatives.
Where can I start researching companies coming to the fair?
- A full list of attendees for the fair on the 29th can be found on the induction website
- Refer to the company profiles in the fair guide which you will receive during induction
- Research companies through their websites, LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds
- Trade Press can also be useful to gain knowledge for the industries you are interested in e.g. Marketing Week, The Grocer, FT.com, Accountancy Age, The Actuary, The Hedge Fund Journal, The Insurance Insider, Management Consulting Association etc.
Plan the questions you want to ask
Try to ask consistent questions to different organisations at the fair, as this will help you compare answers to make a considered decision about later applications.
Don’t ask “What do you do?” or any questions you could answer yourself by looking at the company website such as “Do you sponsor?”
Demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the sector and the company and make a winning first impression.
Prepare your answers
Be prepared to answer questions about your interests and motivations. You may need to write these down beforehand to practice and focus your ‘pitch’ about yourself.
On the day:
Dress to impress
First impressions count so ensure you are in business dress for the fair Presenting yourself professionally by wearing business dress is a must, as is keeping accessories, jewellery, perfume, aftershave and make-up to a minimum. Men should wear a conservative suit, shirt and tie in neutral colours, (typically, black, dark blue and grey). Women should wear trouser or dress suits with a blouse and medium height heeled shoes.
- Decide which employers you definitely want to visit. Use the floor plan in the fair guide to plot a route around the fair.
- Introduce yourself to make a positive impression – tell them your name and the course you are studying
- Demonstrate that you have done some research on the company.
- Ask pertinent questions, and try to establish a dialogue.
- Bring other, hovering students into the conversation – recruiters like people who demonstrate an awareness of others’ needs.
- Collect names, contact details or cards as appropriate.
- Take notes after you have spoken to an employer – it might be useful for your application.
- Thank them for their time!
- Dismiss organisations based on their industry – A large number of companies attending the fairs recruit from any degree discipline and don’t necessarily seek a course related to their industry.
- Bring stacks of CVs – employers want to talk to you rather than read about you and most will have online application systems
- Bring rucksacks and big coats – there is no cloakroom and it will get warm and very busy
- Ask questions which are answered in the fair guide! Or questions around sponsorship, salary and holidays
- Come across as arrogant – for example by asking “Why should I join your company? What have you got to offer me?”
- Just grab a freebie and leave.
After the event:
Ensure that you follow up with anyone who passed you their contact details – e-mail them to thank them for their time and advice and if appropriate try and arrange a follow up meeting
Want to learn more?
Watch and listen to our guide on preparing for the fair using the link below
Here’s our students talking about their experiences of the Cass Careers Fair
If you have any questions between now and the 18th September please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org