BEFORE THE FAIR
1. Consider your goals
There can be several reasons for attending a Careers Fair. Perhaps you are merely looking to experience how such an event takes place. Maybe you wish to get an overview of the possibilities for a person with your educational background. Finally, you might have a clear plan and objective to land the internship position, the project collaboration, or the job, by networking at the fair.
Make sure that you know what you wish to achieve at the Careers Fair - and work stubbornly to reach your goals.
2. Overview and research
The best prerequisite for delivering a message is to know the recipient. Before the fair, you need to examine which companies are represented. It will never be possible to speak to a 100 companies in one single day. Therefore, make a list of the ones you think fit your professional profile. When the list is done, you can start researching on the chosen companies.
Search for info on their websites and notes. Look for company objectives, areas of expertise, geographical location, number of employees, as well as the latest annual budgets. Use your new knowledge to consider how you fit into the company profile, what you will be able to bring to the table, and whether you identify some problems that you will be able to help solve. Write down notes in order to be ready to explain to the companies why they need you.
3. Prepare your cv or business card
Companies at the fair will meet hundreds of students in one day. Therefore, it might be hard for them to remember you – even if you believe you make an awesome impression. Therefore, have your cv or business card ready to give to the company representatives.
A “fair cv” is typically shorter than your regular cv. Besides your contact info, it consists of a small resume of your professional profile, as well as a list of your educations, job experiences, linguistic and technical competencies, etc. Find more inspiration for your cv in our cv guide.
If you already have chosen some companies that you are extra interested in talking to, it might be a good idea to create cvs that focus on these companies. Have them ready and printed before the fair.
A business card can be a great alternative to the cv. You can cheaply order them on different websites, where you can design them after your own wishes. Do note, the business card does not leave much room for describing who you are and what you can do. This can make it harder for companies to remember you.
DURING THE FAIR
4. Be accommodating and listen
Always meet company representatives with a smile, presence, and genuine interest. This is the foundation for creating a good first impression that will be remembered.
Many students are very focused on explaining professional competencies or presenting a pre-rehearsed speech. However, you must remember that meeting a company at the fair should be a dialogue between you and the company. Therefore, remember to listen to what the companies tell and ask you. Contribute inputs and perspectives during the conversation, and ask relevant wh-questions that show that you have knowledge about the company. Add practical and concrete examples of your abilities and put them in relation to the company objectives and problems.
After all, it is neither a flashy cv nor a perfectly rehearsed elevator pitch that give the best impression. It is your knowledge about and interest in the company that shows that you are indispensable to them.
5. Articulate linguistic and cultural barriers
As an international student, you might not yet have learned to speak Danish fluently. This can be a barrier which can be hard for many Danish companies to overlook. Therefore, be sure to articulate how you plan to overcome the possible barriers this might present. For example, you can explain that you have lived in Denmark for many years and understand the work culture, and perhaps also the language to some degree.
Also, be sure to emphasize what coming from a different culture can add to the company. Perhaps you can understand markets and processes that are unknown to this company, or maybe you have an educational background that is not available in Denmark. Provide clear examples of how the cultural and linguistic differences is an advantage, rather than a problem.
6. Take breaks and make a logbook
It can be difficult to remember all the information and companies, you meet during a day at the fair. Therefore, remember to take breaks in order to get an overview of who you have talked to and how the conversations went.
It is a good idea to make some sort of logbook, in which you write down the names and contact info on the company representatives, you have met. Also, write down the main topics of your conversations, and how the representatives wish for you to follow up after the fair.
With the logbook, you have a great tool to transform the good conversations during the fair into actual agreements on collaboration or jobs after the fair.
7. Participate in workshops, lectures, and other activities
The Careers Fair is not only a unique opportunity to meet 100 companies. There is also a lot of workshops and lecture which can help you improve your future career opportunities.
Get an overview of the inspiring talks and lectures in the Careers Fair catalogue (find it at karrieredagene.dk), and remember to sign up for events if required. For example, you can get your cv or LinkedIn profile evaluated by professional counselors.
Similar career events are continuously available at AAU in Aalborg, Copenhagen and Esbjerg (find the career events at careers.aau.dk). The many career offers are meant to give you the best possible foundation to make your career dreams come true. Use them as inspiration or as concrete tools for strengthening your professional profile.