How to Prepare for the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair 2016
So you’ve booked your free place at Deaf Unity’s Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair 2016, now it’s time to make sure you’re well prepared to make a good impression, wow employers with your CV and networking skills, and get the most out of this exclusive one-day only event.
With so much in store for you on the day – including workshops, inspirational talks and meet and greets with equal opportunity employers and charitable organisations – there’s lots of opportunity to build your skills and knowledge and make useful contacts. You may even get a head start in the recruitment process – did you know eight people who attended the Deaf Careers Fair 2014 were hired by equal opportunity employer, Ernst & Young soon afterwards?
So here’s our quick guide to help you prepare for the careers fair:
- Make sure you print off details of the venue or have the information on your phone. Noting down the venue location before you set off on the day will help you to avoid getting lost.
- Communicate your needs in advance. Interpreters and communication support will be available on the day at the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair, but if you have any other needs or special requests, please get in touch with Alasdair Grant (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Deaf Unity so he can get those arrange for you.
- Wear presentable clothing. Smart casual is a good dress code for a careers fair as it means you will feel comfortable and relaxed on the day, but will still look presentable for meeting with employers. Think about bringing a spare pair of smart shoes with you or a blazer to smarten up your look.
- Find out what employers and organisations are attending. It can be useful checking the company websites and employee LinkedIn profiles in advance to find out more about what they do if their company is of interest to you. You could also do some basic industry research – looking into current trends and the types of jobs available. This will help you to get a good idea of what employers you’d like to meet with on the day and the types of questions you’ll want to ask. See our growing list of equal exhibitors and supporters who will be attending the Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair 2016.
- Prepare an elevator speech. How are you going to sell yourself on the day? Do you know what your top skills are and the unique benefits you can bring to an employer? An elevator speech doesn’t have to be long, but it should contain your best qualities and why you think you’d make a great employee. It’s a great way to pitch yourself to employers in a professional and well-thought out way.
What to bring
- Printed copies of your up to date CV that you can share with employers and take to CV writing workshops. Remember, if you’re looking for more than one type of role, you might need to create different versions of your CV, each tailored to the opportunity you want to push for.
- Notepad and pen (or a tablet/laptop computer). You may want to jot down notes during talks and workshops, and list important tips and advice shared with you by employers and supporters there on the day.
- Details of the venue. Make sure you have noted down the venue location before you set off on the day so you don’t get lost.
- A written record of questions you want to ask. Once you know what employers and organisations you want to meet on the day, draft up a list of questions you want to ask them to find out more about their company and the support they provide to deaf and disabled employees. Writing the questions down is handy just in case you forget them in the heat of the moment!
- A confident smile. Meeting new people and presenting yourself to employers can be scary, but it’s so important that you ooze as much enthusiasm and confidence as possible. You need to show employers that you’re confident in your abilities and your potential as a candidate, and that you are professional and focused. Practice speaking in front of the mirror in the lead up to the careers fair and think about your body language and how to present yourself well.
What to do on the day
- Do remember to pick up business cards and take down the names of employers and representatives you talk to on the day. This will be useful for getting in touch with them in the future.
- Do talk confidently about your experience and skills. Express your interest in the company and be clear about how and why you’d make a great employee or supporter.
- Do attend the day’s lineup of workshops to learn CV writing skills and interviewing techniques, and attend talks to get insight into how other deaf and disabled people have succeeded in their careers.
- Don’t forget to be professional at all times, so try not to fidget too much or chew gum when talking to employers.
- Don’t waste the opportunity to network with other deaf and disabled job seekers and professionals who will be there on the day. You never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet!
- Do think carefully about questions to ask employers. Think about what types of questions are going to help you to get a better idea of the company’s values, the types of candidates the employer is looking to hire, and how the company supports employees with deafness and disabilities.
Good examples of questions to ask employers at a careers fair include:
- What kinds of skills and experience do you look for in the employees you hire?
- What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
- What courses or experience do you recommend to potential candidates?
- What communication support and resources do you provide for deaf employees in the workplace?
- How long does the hiring process take and what does it involve?
- What’s your organisation’s culture like?
- Are there opportunities for ongoing training?
The Deaf and Disabilities Careers Fair 2016 is taking place in Bristol at the Greenway Centre on 9th September 2016 from 10am to 4pm. It’s open to all who have a hearing loss or associated disability and will be held in a highly accessible environment with interpreters and communication support available. There will be equal opportunity graduate employers, industry experts and local organisations on hand during the day to answer questions and offer advice.