How To Promote Yourself At A Careers Fair

Published May 20, 2024, 1:48 PM
Approx. read time 6 mins

Wherever you're marketing yourself, you must ensure your business attracts the right audience at the right time. Careers fairs can differ from general marketing; you're trying to show that you're a good place to work for, not just a good place to work with.

Career fairs give you a great opportunity to interact with potential applicants and get them excited to work with you in the future.

Typically, careers fairs are aimed at students, so it's important to keep them in mind when you're preparing to go to one as an exhibitor.

How can you appeal to students?

Graduating class throwing their caps in the air

Students have a unique culture, and you need to ensure you're tapping into it to get them on board.

Remember, students are still growing into who they are

If you tell students that they can't achieve a large salary because of their age and experience level, you've already lost them. But if you tell them they can have a good lifestyle and grow into their career with you, you're more likely to make a connection.

Students have a life outside of studying

If you're just trying to tap into how good they are at studying and you love the grades they're achieving, you've lost them already. You need to appeal to their emotions and interests through the items you'll be handing out and the culture within your business.

Don't try too hard

If you're trying too hard to be one of them, students will smell a rat and be put off by the claims you're making. Set out with the aim of educating them about what you can offer, what their options are with you, and how your offer can meet their exact needs. That way, they know you're being authentic and not trying to sell them a dream.

Preparing to go to a career fair

We want to help you make your time at a career fair as productive as possible, part of which comes down to preparation.

Step 1 - Create clear objectives

If you don't know what you're aiming for, then how will you know if you've achieved your goals? They can be as simple as knowing whether you're looking to hire a candidate right away or whether you are going with the aim of keeping an eye on your competitor's strategies.

If you can come up with a clear target for what you want to achieve, you can gauge whether it was a successful event after the fact.

Step 2 - Do your research

Do you know how your competitor's stands will look? Or what types of promotional products they will be giving out?

If you know which of your competitors will be there, start looking at ways you can stand out compared to them. Do you have an interactive element to your business that candidates can have a go at which will help you make an impact?

Next, you need to consider whether there are any trends in terms of the products you should be handing out at the event.

Step 3 - Order promotional products

You need to be able to stand out with the products you're handing out to ensure you stick in the minds of those you're talking to.

If you have a specific job you're looking to fill, make sure you have an attractive job listing that includes all the important information about working for you and what you're looking for in a candidate.

If you're looking to the future and attempting to generate interest in your business, you need to ensure you have handouts that show what it's like to work with you and the culture around your business.

Apart from this, there are typical products you can go for, such as ballpoint pens, lanyards, water bottles and keyrings; just make sure your logo is on every item.

If you don't feel like these are right for you, try to appeal to the people you're looking to attract to your business. Are you looking for school leavers who are currently stressed about their exams? You can't go wrong with a stress ball.

If you're looking for someone who's eco-conscious, then pens made from recycled materials and cotton bags are a good way to go.

If you're not sure what's going to work for you, just keep in mind who you're advertising to and attempting to appeal to.

Step 4 - Work out your presentation

You need to stick in the candidate's mind, so how will you achieve this? Are you just going to hand out your promotional materials or will you have small games where the participant wins a water bottle or swag bag?

What are you going to be talking about when you're approached by a candidate? How are you going to present the ideals of your business? Keep everything in mind that you could be asked about and have a bank of answers at your disposal. Remember, you're trying to impress everyone who comes across you; you don't want to be seen as floundering.

Step 5 - Gather candidate information

What's the point in going to a careers fair if you're not going to be gathering information from candidates interested in you?

Think about the forms you're going to have to use and how they need to be filled out. Are you looking at digital forms or paper-based?

If you want the candidate to download information about you, you need to think about how you're going to achieve this. Are they going to log onto your website and download the information, or will they have to give you some details first?

Step 6 - How will you analyse performance?

You need to consider how you will know how well you did on the day. Think about the goals you set in step one and think about whether you achieved them on the day.

It's best to do this either right after the event or at least in the same week so the event is fresh in your mind.

You need to think about both the good points and the bad; this way, you know what you need to do again next time and what needs to be improved in the future.