SOAS University of London

Careers Service

Making the most of fairs

Before the Fair

  • To make a good impression on the day you’ll need to do some preparation in advance.
  • To get started, check the Exhibitor list to see who will be attending. Visit the websites of your target employers to research what they do/what they specialise in, what their values are, what their recruitment procedures are, etc. Employers aren’t impressed when students ask them questions that could easily be answered by visiting their website. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, though; just make sure you prepare a few informed questions in advance. Asking knowledgeable questions is a great way to show your knowledge about and interest in their company.
  • Some exhibitors may be keen to collect a CV from you, so prepare multiple copies in advance to give out on the day. Rehearse your selling points, so that you can impress in a short time.

On the day of the Fair

  • Dress smartly as you would for an interview. First impressions count.
  • Be clear about what you want to find out from the exhibitors and what you want to tell them about you. Is there specific information you want to get from them? Employers tell us that they enjoy meeting students who’ve done some work on understanding their business.
  • If there are people you’d particularly hoped to chat to, great. Don’t ignore the others, though. Once you’ve spoken to the exhibitors you’re really interested in, why not explore some other areas of work you hadn’t previously considered?
  • When you finish your conversations, make a note of the representative’s name as it’s good to be able to refer to them when you make any future applications. Take a notebook to record these and any other useful bits of information.
  • Some company representatives may assess you quite quickly and just ask you for your CV to consider you in more detail later.

After the Fair

  • Review any notes you took.
  • Follow up any contacts you made, especially those with whom you left either your CV or your business card.
  • Re-visit the websites of the organisations you’re interested in and check out their job opportunities.

Enjoy the fair and make the most of what it has to offer!