Surviving Careers Fairs: A beginner’s guide to the campus milkround

As the autumn draws to a close and the leaves have turned, ready to fall off as winter fast approaches, a faint roar can be heard in the distance.

HR’s across the land rejoice in unison! The careers fairs milkround is nearly over and they can finally put down their roller banners for another year.

Careers fairs, are they friend or foe? I still haven’t been able to make up my mind. So, in an effort to come to a decision, I thought it best to make a list of the good, the bad and the ugly, to figure out how to get the most out of every experience. 

My Top 5 things to remember when trying to navigate careers fairs successfully…

1. At careers fairs, you’re constantly surrounded by throngs of people

GREAT for business, for finding graduates and promoting your brand  


If like me you reach the lofty heights of 5”2 or below navigating your way through a never-ending crowd can be tiresome.

If you do decide to venture out into the masses, wait until after lunch towards the end of the fair when it isn’t as busy.

2. Make sure you feed yourself!

It seems like an obvious thing to put on the list, however, how many times have you missed your lunch because you were busy talking students or answering questions?

If you can be bothered to pack your own lunch think carrot sticks and hummus, leafy greens and food that makes your brain function at its optimum capacity. More often than not though an exhibitor’s lunch is provided, so make full use of it!

I found that working remotely and juggling the multi-faceted task of attending a careers fair with your business, lunch-time became the most important part of the day.

At all costs it’s important to try and avoid being hangry, as it usually throws a spanner in the works when the main aim of your day is to be a ray of sunshine, beaming out to hundreds of new faces.


Make yourself something delicious just in case you don’t love your pre-prepared exhibitor’s lunch!

3. Dress to impress (but bring a spare pair of shoes!)

If you are blessed enough to work in an office that has a smart casual dresscode and fully embraces dress down Fridays, attending a careers fair means a slight wardrobe change.

This however should be something to celebrate! I always feel that extra boost of confidence when I have donned a blazer and it helps when talking to all those new people. You are the face of your company and looking professional is part and parcel of the job, plus blue suede shoes are always a great talking point.


Whether you opt for a heel or a smart structured shoe, bring something comfy for your toes on the train ride back.

4. Network, network, network!

Spending the majority of your time having the same conversation with hopefully hundreds of keen and interested students can be somewhat repetitive. Just like every other business in the building, your main aim is to talk to students and create a buzz around your company.

After completing my first milkround this autumn it was great to see that some familiar faces from different companies were popping up with each fair.

Talking to your neighbour whilst at your stand is always a nice way to pass the time especially towards the end of the day.  By doing so, you never know what you might learn! One conversation I had gifted me an insight into the engineering industry and I learnt about the gap between academia and engineering in the workplace – a nugget of information I still use today when talking with clients from that background seeking engineering graduates.


Turn a hello into an add on LinkedIn. Networking is possible anywhere and everywhere and is always beneficial, grow your network and learn something new.

5. Set yourself a target

To make sure you are as productive as you can be, set yourself a target. These can come from your managers or you could simply set yourself a personal target.

How many people do you want to sign up that day?

Are you looking for 5 computer scientists?

Is it less about numbers and more focused on how many warm and friendly interactions you had, would talking to 1 person who had exactly the right fit for your company culture outweigh talking to 10 people who just weren’t quite right?


Have an idea of what you would like to achieve at the beginning of the day and then compare your results at the end, then you can measure your productivity.

How did you find the past few months?

Were your campus events successful?

Did you reach your targets?

We at Sanctuary Graduates would love to hear about it!

Please drop us a line to discuss all things graduate recruitment related!

Tel: 020 3813 7971