So – you have decided to attend the Summer Careers Fair but are feeling nervous about speaking to people you haven’t met before. Here are some quick tips: Remember that these employers actively want to be at Surrey and talk to Surrey students.
What sorts of questions can you ask?
Most people are happy to answer questions and talk about themselves. Some suggestions include:
- What do you enjoy about working for the company?
- What is the culture of the business like?
- What is the most interesting project you have done since you started in this company?
- What were the challenges and highlights of the first year with the company for you?
- Is there anything you wish you had known when you were at my stage and applying for your first jobs?
A final year’s tips for approaching employers
Namita received a job offer from BDO after our Autumn Fair. She gives some tips for how to approach employers here.
Display these attributes when engaging with employers
1. Be Positive
Remember to reframe any uncertainty you feel (which can seem like a negative) into a positive attitude of ‘keeping an open mind’ while you explore options.
Think of a couple of very simple things you can say about yourself if asked by an employer: ‘I’m …. and I’m in the final year of my degree in ….’ You could talk about having done a placement or being in a society, or that you are looking for a company with a culture of supportive staff development, or want to work somewhere when you can build on your learning from your degree.
2. Be Yourself
There isn’t a one size fits all approach – the most important thing is, as far as possible, be confident to be yourself. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more authentic and relaxed you will seem to someone else; this will take away some of your nerves. This isn’t an interview – it’s a friendly and informative conversation, and relaxing into that can really help.
If employers ask you what your career plans are and you don’t have clear ideas yet, this is fine! You can simply state that you are exploring lots of options at the moment but you hope you have a chance to work somewhere that you can learn new skills, or develop your interest in coding/problem solving/working on large scale projects…. You get the picture.
3. Be Curios
Lastly, the attitude of curiosity, which I have talked about elsewhere, is also an antidote for nerves. Use the fair as a starting point for exploration and broadening your mind about possible options.
Make it your aim to gather information about new opportunities or inside knowledge of a new sector. Trying imagining that you are there as a curious anthropologist, on a mission to find out about companies, culture, habits, details. This puts the focus outwards, and will prove enjoyable!
Good Luck at the Fair! If you haven’t registered for a place yet, you can book a place here.