Most students will be familiar with what a job fair is – lots of employers with stalls who are promoting exciting opportunities with their companies. However, many students who assume these vacancies will be advertised online and they can save time by not going, under estimate the power of actually attending these fairs.

Attending graduate job fairs gives you valuable experience in networking and making contacts. Networking is not something to be intimidated by as many people misunderstand networking to be very corporate and formal that involves you having to sell yourself dragons den style. This could not be further from the truth. The majority of networking consists of having a polite chat with someone else in order to develop your professional network and build on social contacts within that area. For example, if you are interested in working in the fashion industry and you have a chat with a fashion employer at a graduate fair, simply exchanging names, discussing the opportunities they have available and asking to connect with them on LinkedIn is a prime example of effective networking. This is a strong skill to have, as you never know if you may need to do this regularly as part of your future career.

By attending graduate fairs, you are also making your application forms stronger. If you are able to state in your cover letter or application form that you were made aware of the vacancy you are applying to because you attended a fair and spoke to a member of staff, this shows to the employer you are enthusiastic and have made the effort to attend. Here in the Career and Employability Service at Manchester Met, we regularly receive feedback from employers who inform us the applications they receive are far more impressive to them if the applicant has stated they have interacted or met members of staff from attending fairs, and this can make an application stand out from hundreds of others received.

If you would like to know more about making the most of attending a graduate fair, keep an eye out for our upcoming career fair preparation workshops that will be advertised on CareerHub.

Check out Manchester University’s The Grad Fair 2017  held on Thursday 4 May 2017 10:30am – 4:00pm, The Armitage Centre, Fallowfield. This is open to all students from all institutions.  It is suitable for those looking for a full-time graduate position or a postgraduate course starting summer or autumn 2017.