Jobs fairs may help you decide your general career direction, as well as offering specific roles
by Brian Gorman
Anyone looking for a new job should consider attending career fairs, which offers both opportunities to be hired and guidance about all sorts of issues related to employment.
Careers fairs, also known as jobs fairs or recruitment fairs, help candidates to find out about potential employers, says an article on WikiJob. Career fairs are “typically organised in a large hall where potential employers will set up booths with members from their human resources (HR) team”, it says. These employers can tell attendees about the company, their application process and “anything else they might want to know”.
“While the internet does provide a lot of information on different careers and companies, this is not a substitute for the personal experience that you will have when you attend a careers fair,” says the article.
The article points to talks held by the companies or by the event organisers. These can be on topics such as CV preparation, or other general advice.
Jobs fairs can help you research more about given sectors, especially if you are unsure of the sort of work you want to do. Companies at fairs can provide huge amounts of information, drawing on years of experience.
WikiJob says that recruitment is often dependent on who you know, and that you can enhance your prospects by connecting on LinkedIn with the people you meet at the conference.
An article on HR News lists attending job fairs as one of its six tips for finding a new job.
Describing a job fair as “a great place to find a new employer”, the article advises preparing for the fair by finding out the names of the participating companies and doing some background research on them “to gain a competitive advantage over other applicants”. It also advises preparing an “elevator pitch” about yourself to ensure you can start an interesting conversation when approaching a recruiter.
Although career fairs are often associated with universities or new graduates, a great many are also open to the wider community. In October 2022, 50 local employers met with jobseekers at the Ipswich Jobs and Careers Fair at the town hall, in an event organised by Ipswich Borough Council and Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Council leader David Ellesmere pointed to such events helping many local people, “including those out of work into employment and candidates seeking a new role”.
In some circumstances, virtual employment fairs may work best. This could be where employers and jobseekers are separated by hundreds of even thousands of miles. Some positions involve remote working. In such circumstances, virtual careers fairs may be the best solution. As WikiJob points out, it is still possible to have one-to-one conversations with employers by going into the virtual “booths”.
Upcoming virtual events in Europe include those looking to recruit for roles in Norway and Belgium, part of the European Job Days (EJD) series run by the European Union through EURES, a network of European Employment Services, and the European Commission.
“Employers get access to thousands of CVs for free whilst jobseekers get to apply for jobs across Europe in a variety of sectors – from medicine to tourism,” says EJD.
The event in Belgium is focused on the Flanders region. “The Flemish labour market is jammed with exciting opportunities for skilled workers and engineering professionals,” said EJD.
European Job Days are run by EURES, a network of European Employment Services, and the European Commission.