By now you should know what a brilliant opportunity careers fairs are; if you don’t, have a look at why we think you should attend a careers fair. Despite offering so much to students and graduates, careers fairs can be so busy that those opportunities are sometimes hard to find. Please have a read through our tips on how to make the most of a careers fair, and find the best opportunities for you.

Approach businesses that you wouldn’t normally consider

Staying in your comfort zone might be less stressful, but it won’t allow you to reach your full potential. By approaching a whole range of different businesses, including ones you wouldn’t immediately jump to, you are opening up your job search to a much wider pool. You might find out about a brilliant job which suits your skill set perfectly.

Many career paths are not what they seem from the outside. For example, there is an assumption that all IT jobs are technical and science-based, when, in reality, any position which relies on technology is in the sector of IT, including many creative jobs. Don’t limit yourself based on false assumptions. The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to find your perfect role.

When you are at a careers fair, the large number of people means you could easily miss an excellent employer, simply because they were surrounded by people, or in another room.

To avoid missing out on great opportunities, research which companies will be attending before you go. This way, you can make a list of the employers you want to talk to, and then seek them out directly upon arrival. Research can also help you to feel less overwhelmed on the day and more able to engage in thoughtful conversations with various businesses.

Attend any extra events at the careers fair

As well as the employer stalls, many careers fairs put on events throughout the day. These might be tips on applying for jobs such as CV workshop, or they could be a focused event on a particular career, such as Careers in the Arts. These events not only give you additional guidance and advice, but they also introduce you to employers who you may not have come across.

If a manager of a company gives a talk about their industry that you found inspiring, you could approach them after and introduce yourself. These kinds of interactions are crucial when applying for jobs; if you have already made an impression on somebody, they are more likely to consider your application.

Ask plenty of questions

An employer may attend the fair to promote a particular job or graduate scheme, but this doesn’t mean that is all they can offer. By asking lots of questions and enquiring with employers about roles, you might find an opportunity that’s perfect for you. Ask employers about what different positions they have within their company, or tell them about skillset and experience and ask what roles might suit you. Don’t assume that just because something isn’t displayed or on their leaflet that they don’t want to chat about it; there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Allocate plenty of time

If you only leave enough time to go around the stalls once, you might miss a fantastic opportunity. By allocating plenty of time, you can walk around plenty of times and catch anything you missed the first time. Often popular businesses have busy stalls, instead of wasting time queuing you can visit a different stall and remember to come back later.

For more information, visit our guide to undergraduate study.