Career Fair or Career Despair?

dialog3 tips to make your fair a buzzing event

If you are a “career fair organiser” here is a common scenario you might relate to:

“You start working on your career fair months in advance. You sent out endless e-mails with an invitation, make thousands of phone calls, and even pop out of office to attend some networking events. Finally, the day of the event comes and yes, you did it! Lots of different employers from across various industries are there waiting on their stalls to welcome students and answer their questions. But wait! There is one piece missing… There are not enough visitors! And the students that happen to appear in the middle of your fair just walk through bluntly without approaching employers and asking questions. By the end of the fair, you dread to see the employers’ feedback who let’s face it; were not impressed….”

This is actually very common and I have been there myself. But there are a few solutions (all tested) that might help you with this.

Here are 3 top tips that have helped me and my clients in the past to transform career fairs into events where a high volume of students were actively and professionally approaching employers for advice.

  • Engage teachers

engage

Let’s face it: tutors are the ones that have a constant access to students and with them on board your event will be buzzing. Before the event, provide teachers with detailed information on each employer that they can share with their students. Also, create a friendly user schedule which will allow tutors to book 15 minutes slots for them to bring their class down to the event.

This way you will have a steady, planned flow of visitors.

  • Create a less intimidating environment:

ideaFor a moment try to think like a teenager (yes I know it is hard but let’s try it). You are on your lunch break with your mates, wearing your jeans and hoodie. You stumble across the career fair where older individuals dressed in suits are standing behind tables looking at you.  How do you feel? Intimidated. What do you? Just ignore them and quickly pass through. If we really want the event to be for students, make it less intimidating for them. Think outside of the box; do it in the cafeteria as a networking event where people just mingle with each other, or in a speed networking style, or just maybe forget about the tables and replace them with comfy sofas.

The choice is yours but simply remember to be student-friendly.

  • Equip your students with the necessary skills:

createWe do not expect new students enrolling on hairdressing course to know straight away how to cut and style hair. Why do we then expect students, who most likely have never had to approach employers before in such settings, to network with employers professionally? Tap into your creative skills on how to shape your students networking skills before the event: provide information given by tutors, invite an expert who gives a talk, run an interactive workshop during their tutorial. During the event you can even have a ‘confidence booster’ point; an information point for students where you can give out tips on how to approach employers.

‘Confidence Booster Points’ help young people to find out about relevant employers for them to talk to and get some advice on how to approach them.

Remember! The problem is often that the mindset of the career fair organiser assumes that everyone else around them including students and teachers knows what the career fair is really about. Unfortunately, this is not the case! Think outside the box to organize events where a high volume of students will actively and professionally approach employers for advice.