How To Network At A Career Fair Post-Covid 🤩

By Siew Ching

It’s been a while so here’s a refresher on how to navigate a physical career fair.

Travels are up again, offices are in full working mode, cinemas are screening, and concerts are back on. Yups, seems like the new normal has now reverted to what we used to know – and love!

Another thing to look forward to now that the pandemic is behind us is our upcoming GRADUAN® Career Fair & Conference this 3 December 2022 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Yes, you read that right – we are bringing back our most anticipated career and networking fair, and it will be our first physical fair since the pandemic.

Judging from the responses we already have, it looks like a lot of you will be attending this fair to meet and network with Malaysia’s top organisations. We have many companies who will be joining us on that day and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to meet the reps and impress them. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you submit your CV using your GRADUAN account so HR reps from our participating employers will have access to it.

Now are you ready to network at the GRADUAN® Career Fair & Conference? Here’s a recap on how to make your networking efforts a success.

#1 Practice What You’ll Say!
Like everything else in life, practice makes perfect! A common mistake many talents make is not knowing what to say when approaching an employer. They just go up to the booth and expect the HR rep to speak to them. So do this: Introduce yourself first! Explain why you are at the booth and what you are interested to learn from the reps. Think about what you want to say so you won’t feel nervous on that day. Before you pass your CV over, make a connection first. Talk about your interest, your experience and ask a few questions about the company. Then, hand over your CV. This way you don’t look like you’re pushing too much or just there to pass CVs to everyone who’s exhibiting on that day.

#2 Be Respectful!
We are still in the midst of COVID-19 cases so remember all the SOPs – wear a mask at all times, keep your distance from those attending the fair, and practice hygiene. You don’t want to crowd around others at a booth so wait your turn to speak to the rep. You may not know this but the HR rep will know who is the impatient and rude one amongst those visiting the booths, especially if you’re the push your way through the crowd type. Be polite when speaking even if it’s a casual event but don’t be too professional. Show some of your fun personality so you are still memorable. But be respectful at all times – that will go a long way at all networking events because you’ll be remembered as the polite potential and not that rude talent whom nobody wants to hire!

#3 Dress to Impress
Yes, we know it will be a whole day event and you want to be as comfortable as possible. But do yourself a favour and leave the slippers and bulky bag at home! Instead, dress how you would for a job interview – neat, presentable and professional. Dress in dark or neutral colours and wear freshly ironed clothes (you don’t want to show up with wrinkled wear!). Keep your makeup as natural as possible and make sure you are properly groomed. All of this will help you be more confident and when you are confident, you stand out more!

#4 Ask All the Right Questions
The GRADUAN® Career Fair & Conference this 3 December 2022 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is a great place to meet leading companies so it’s advisable to make the most of it by asking all the right questions. Enter each discussion with a recruiter as an opportunity to learn more and impress with these questions:

  • What career opportunities are available for someone with my credentials at your company?
  • What is the hiring process like?
  • What do you look for in candidates?
  • Are there currently skills or experiences that are desirable in your company?
  • How can I apply if I am interested?

Do not ask about salary, benefits or work hours. All that can be discussed if you ever get an interview. The main thing is to show your interest in the industry, and not how much you will be paid.

#5 Start with a Solid Introduction
Call it an intro or an elevator pitch but you know what we are talking about: That 30-seconds intro where you can really make an impression. Say the recruiter at the career fair asks you this: “So…tell me more about yourself.” What will you say that will make you stand out? Here are some tips: Include a brief introduction about yourself, your major or experience, what you are currently doing, and why you are interested in working for the company/industry. It will sound something like this: “Hi! My name is Brianna and I am a graduate from Universiti Malaya with honours in Marketing. I am currently working with a local company whereby I am in charge of their social media marketing for their best selling product. I am interested to learn more about other opportunities that are out there in marketing, especially in an established company like yours.”

#6 Do Your Research!
It will be full house at our GRADUAN® Career Fair & Conference this year seeing how it’s our first physical fair since the pandemic. Trying to visit every booth will be an impossible task! So do this: Make a list of the companies you check out and do those first. This way, you’ll still be filled with energy and positivity to navigate your way through because let’s face it, by the 20th booth you’ll be tired of saying the same thing and asking the same question! Try this tactic: Visit three to four booths first before hitting the booth of the company you really want to work for. You would have had some practice already and would be more confident of what to say when you’re face-to-face with the HR rep from the company you wish to work for.

All the best and see you at GRADUAN® Career Fair & Conference this 3 December 2022 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre!

Photo by Jaime Lopes on Unsplash.

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