Top five reasons to attend a careers fair

Your school years are coming to an end.  Adult life and independence await you. It’s an exciting time but also a time where some big decisions need to be made about the first steps you will take into the working world.

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Pursuing an apprenticeship or other school leaver programme are valuable ways to kick start your career. But how do you choose exactly which companies you want to apply to? And what’s the best way to apply to each of them? Do you feel your CV and interview skills are ready?

As well as all the insightful advice on AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk, a great way to discover more about what employers have to offer and to get hands on guidance on how best to apply to them is to attend a careers fair. 

Here are five reasons you should think about getting out from behind the computer screen and in front of the companies who want to hire and train you, and the experts who can help you succeed.

1. Meet employers face-to-face

Normally as a school leaver, the first time you get to meet a prospective employer is if you are fortunate enough to secure a job interview with them, and that can feel like a rather one-sided and nerve-racking introduction! 

By attending a careers fair, you can talk to multiple employers in the course of a day.  Having dozens of organisations in one place makes for a very efficient use of time in weighing up options.

In addition, the environment at a careers fair feels less intimidating than in the interview room because it’s as much about you finding out about the employers as it is about employers meeting prospective recruits .  First impressions can be made in a more relaxed situation.

And, if you are still deciding between a path direct to the workplace or further education, a unique careers fair like What Career Live?, being held at Birmingham’s NEC on 26 and 27 February, which brings both avenues under one roof, offers a unique opportunity for assessing which direction is right for you.

2. Current vacancies

Careers fairs offer the perfect opportunity for you to discover current and upcoming job and apprenticeship vacancies with employers.  There is the opportunity to hear about roles and schemes which aren’t yet even in the public domain, as well as those which are hot off the press.  At What Career Live?, there will even be a jobs board to help highlight the roles available from the exhibitors at the exhibition.

Companies can explain their training and apprenticeship programmes in detail, and you may even get to meet some current apprentices and trainees to hear firsthand what it’s like learning on the job with a particular firm.

3. First impressions & networking

Attending a careers fair is the ideal opportunity for you to start making connections and to make those all important first impressions. 

Without the pressure of a formal job interview, it can be easier for you to give a more confident account of yourself with potential employers.  Conversation can be more two-sided with you asking the questions as well as the company.

The general buzz and activity of the environment and seeing other young people chatting away can really help put you at ease, too.  This will help you leave a confident and composed impression with any potential firms you talk to – an impression which could be in your favour when it comes to the application process.

The added advantage is that, should a formal application process or interview then take place, you will already have leapt past the fear of the unknown. From having a very good impression of the company and its ethos, to actual named contacts and connections, you will know who you are dealing with and this can go a long way to aiding your confidence and focus.

4. Expert advice

As well as meeting recruiting companies and apprenticeship providers, you can also benefit from meeting careers experts and hearing talks offering practical advice or inspiration.  Some careers fairs will even offer hands on workshops, such as the job matching assessments on offer at What Career Live?

Having multiple experts in one place offers you a great opportunity to access insights, tips and even one-to-one advice that might not normally be available to you.

5. Efficient use of time

Deciding on an education, training or career path is a decision worth throwing a lot of resources and information at but it can be a very time consuming process, especially at a time when you may be facing the added pressure of exams. Travelling around the country to meet different course providers, or spending hours on the internet researching and requesting further information from multiple companies can be a deflating experience.

It therefore makes real sense to spend an enjoyable day at a careers fair. And for those who are as yet undecided about what is the right path for them beyond the age of 16 or 18, it makes even more sense to attend an event where both further education and a route into the workplace can be assessed side by side.

So what?!

What Career Live? Is a new event for school leavers, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 26 & 27 February 2016.

With more and more school leavers considering alternatives to university, What Career Live? will offer 15-19 year olds the opportunity to find out more about some of the UK’s top apprenticeship programmes.

With Deloitte, IBM, PwC, Unilever, NHS, Civil Service, Jaguar Land Rover and many more leading employers recruiting at the event, What Career Live? provides students with a unique platform to meet directly with recruiters and apply for roles in person. The event also gives students the chance to learn more about different industries at interactive skills experiences and a programme of free careers seminars.

You can visit AllAboutSchoolLeavers on stand C115 at the event.

Entrance is FREE and places can be registered here>>

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